Members of the Moffat County High School's chapter of Distributive Education Clubs of America pose during a district competition Dec. 14 and 15 in Grand Junction. Ten DECA members qualified for a state competition, which requires them to create a business plan or advertising campaign and present it in front of a judge. Pictured are: front row, from left, Allie Liljedahl, Desiree Holland and Jessica Hogue; and back row, from left, Amanda Snyder, Becky Meek, Katryna Snowden, Richard McCoy, Kaci Meek, Domenic James and Cassie Gore.

Krista Schenck/courtesy

Members of the Moffat County High School's chapter of Distributive Education Clubs of America pose during a district competition Dec. 14 and 15 in Grand Junction. Ten DECA members qualified for a state competition, which requires them to create a business plan or advertising campaign and present it in front of a judge. Pictured are: front row, from left, Allie Liljedahl, Desiree Holland and Jessica Hogue; and back row, from left, Amanda Snyder, Becky Meek, Katryna Snowden, Richard McCoy, Kaci Meek, Domenic James and Cassie Gore.

DECA, speech and debate students prepare for events

District, state competitions on the horizon

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Krista Schenck/courtesy

Cassie Gore, Moffat County High School senior, took first place in quiz bowl and accounting at the district competition.

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Krista Schenck/courtesy

Allie Liljedahl, Moffat County High School senior, placed first in quiz bowl and retail marketing at a DECA competition. Liljedahl was one of 10 students who qualified for a state competition in February.

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Krista Schenck/courtesy

Desiree Holland, Moffat County High School senior, won first place in marketing management at a DECA district competition Dec. 14 and 15.

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Krista Schenck/courtesy

Domenic James and Jessica Hogue, Moffat County High School junior and senior, respectively, pose at a Distributive Education Clubs of America district competition Dec. 14 and 15 in Grand Junction. DECA competitions test students' knowledge of business strategies and terminology.

— 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."

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