Craig You could say the past few months have been hectic for Becky and Kaci Meek.
Becky, 17, and her sister, Kaci, 16, have analyzed Craig's customer base, designed a brochure and crafted advertisements for radio and newspaper.
They were preparing to send out an 11-page report on their advertising campaign for an upcoming Distributive Education Clubs of America state competition.
"It's challenging, but at the same time, it's really fun," Kaci said.
The same could be said for Maury Mirante, 15, a Moffat County High School freshman.
He's competed in recent speech and debate tournaments to fulfill a requirement of his high school debate class.
Mirante was reluctant to join the speech and debate team at first, he said.
But, gradually, speaking publicly grew on him.
"It's really good because it teaches you people skills, and you can talk to a crowd," he said.
Distributive Education Clubs of America and the speech and debate team are gearing up for upcoming events.
The DECA team is scheduled to take 10 students to a state competition Feb. 21 through 24 in Colorado Springs.
About 30 speech and debate students are scheduled to travel to Denver on Friday to test their mettle against Front Range high schools. The team has about five other meets before its district competition Feb. 20 and 21 in Grand Junction.
Members of the groups reflected this week about the experiences they've accrued during the season.
The Meek sisters have a project that could have real-world application. Together, they assembled an advertising campaign for Quality Plus One-Hour Photo in Craig.
When they're finished, the business can choose whether to use the materials the students have created.
The sisters will send their report to DECA state judges. They are scheduled to give a 15-minute presentation about their plan at the competition.
Becky, an MCHS senior, has created a manual from start to finish before. The process requires students to create a report on a business plan or advertising campaign they've created for a local business.
"Last year was our first year of doing manuals," she said. "We took the same project, just with a different business, to state last year."
But, it was new to Kaci, a sophomore. She only helped make the presentation last year.
"That was nerve-wracking," she said. "But I think I can do better this upcoming year because I've had more experience."
The siblings aspire to enter the business field after they've earned their high school diplomas.
Becky, a Moffat County High School senior, plans to earn a degree in marketing management while Kaci, a sophomore, wants to become a pastry chef and start her own bakery.
While the Meek sisters have been preparing an ad campaign, Mirante has had to face an onslaught of questions about American current affairs in speech and debate.
He's had to assemble and present his thoughts about various topics during national extemporaneous speaking events at recent speech meets.
He's given a topic and an index card and required to assemble a five- to seven-minute speech on his assigned question.
One round required him to speak about whether he thought the 2016 Summer Olympics should be held in Chicago.
"It's pretty intense," he said. "It's hard."
Mirante also competes in duo acting, which requires him and a partner to act out a short skit.
They chose John C. Havens' comedy piece, "Send in the Clones."
The main character of the piece decides to clone himself, but the plot thickens when the clones start taking the situation into their own hands.
Mirante had a hard time speaking publicly initially, he said, but he learned that talking in front of a crowd has its advantages.
"Especially when you're done and you're going back to your little chair you and your partner are sitting at, and everyone's clapping," he said. "You just know you did really good."