The 12 DECA club members going to state this weekend in Colorado Springs are, front row left to right, Cassie Gore, Katryna Snowden, Emily Willems, back row left to right, Tyler Kalsow, Becky Meek, Nick Marchbanks, Allie Liljedahl, John Ungefug, Kaci Meek, Desiree Holland, Austin Hill, Jessica Hogue and Krista Schenck, adviser.  The state tournament begins today and goes until Tuesday.

Photo by Hans Hallgren

The 12 DECA club members going to state this weekend in Colorado Springs are, front row left to right, Cassie Gore, Katryna Snowden, Emily Willems, back row left to right, Tyler Kalsow, Becky Meek, Nick Marchbanks, Allie Liljedahl, John Ungefug, Kaci Meek, Desiree Holland, Austin Hill, Jessica Hogue and Krista Schenck, adviser. The state tournament begins today and goes until Tuesday.

On the rise

Increased practices, teacher's efforts helped DECA team reach state, students say

— More members, more practices and more dedication spelled out a single result for a Moffat County High School business and marketing club this year, said Desiree Holland, high school junior and DECA member.

That result: Success.

At a district competition in December, the high school's chapter of Distributive Education Clubs of America secured 11 trophies, five medals and the first-place ranking as a team.

At districts, judges evaluated team members on professionalism, public speaking skills and marketing skills in a series of role play situations and written tests. Some students also competed in a Quiz Bowl, a timed competition that tests students' business and marketing knowledge.

Students' performance at districts was the best in the team's history and merited 12 of the team's students a slot at a state competition in Colorado Springs this weekend.

At the four-day state competition, which begins today, the team's qualifiers will make up one of 10 teams.

Holland attributed the success to changes in the team's membership and training.

"I think a lot of our members cared" about reaching state, she said, adding that the team exhibited "more initiative" as a whole.

Holland hopes that this weekend's event won't be the last time she competes in DECA this year.

Her goal isn't to solely perform well at state or rank better than the team's long-time rivals, the Glenwood Springs Devils.

Instead, she aims to outperform herself - and if that goal means qualifying for the national competition, so be it, she said.

Krista Schenck, the team's adviser, also contributed to the success, said Tyler Kalsow, DECA member and high school senior.

"She's given us all the common knowledge we need," he said. "She gave us a chance."

Schenck taught the students business terms and spent time with each student individually to help him or her prepare for district and state competitions, Kalsow said.

What many students needed most at districts was the ability to improvise - a skill they used in role playing various business-related scenarios.

"If you can't think on your feet : you're probably going to bomb most of the role plays," Kalsow said.

Given the added practice students have had this year, that outcome is one that Schenck doesn't see happening to her team at state.

Doubling the number of practices helped the group reach state this year, she said.

"I think we've got a really good chance," she added.

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