Moffat County students head to state DECA competition
Moffat County High School is taking more students than it ever has to the state DECA competition in Colorado Springs in February. This year, 18 students qualified at the district level to move on and compete against students across Colorado.
Krista Schenck, the faculty adviser for DECA, a marketing club for high school students who take marketing classes, said that in previous years, the most Moffat County has taken is 16. Because many schools on the Western Slope do not have DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) teams, Moffat County usually competes against Durango and Grand Junction. State competition means bigger competition against bigger schools. To qualify for the state competition, students had to have placed first in their categories at district competitions.
“There’s no 1A, 2A or 3A like sports teams. It’s just everybody in the state at the same level,” Schenck said. “When we compete, we pretty much have to go to Denver, and we’re competing against kids that are taking two or three years of marketing. A lot of the Denver schools don’t even let their kids compete until they’re juniors and seniors. And so the fact that we have so many freshmen and sophomores going is exciting.”
During competitions, students often face real-world problems relating to marketing and have to solve them in front of a panel of judges.
“If they’re in a service restaurant, they may be having to deal with all of their employees taking the day off, because of Prom weekend, or maybe something went wrong with advertising and people are mad, or maybe it’s a COVID issue, and they have to figure out how to navigate around it,” Schenck said. “They get about 10 minutes to prepare for how they will handle that situation. Then they go in front of a judge and are scored based on what they say and how they present themselves and how they handle that situation.”
A lot of preparation goes into competitions, Schenck said. In weeks leading up to competition day, students practice skills that they will see in their respective events. That can include practicing roleplays, performing speeches or writing written manuals that can be up to 20 pages long. The DECA club meets three times a month to work on those skills.
“DECA events involve two parts,” Schenck said. “They have to take 100 questions, multiple choice marketing tests, which is a third of their score. And then they have to do these roleplay scenarios.”
Schneck said she’s taken around 63 students to national DECA competitions over the course of her time as adviser, which are held across the United States every year. She said she enjoys getting to teach real-world skills to her marketing students so they can get experience in the business world before leaving high school.
“I think sometimes we’re still focused on just what the kids learn and regurgitating information,” she said. “And I love these kinds of classes, because it’s so real-world and practical, and it prepares them for a job. The kids really understand how this is going to help them in the future, and we get to travel all over the country.”
Students who qualified:
Jonah Jenison (9th grade) and Wyatt Tucker (9th grade) in Business Law and Ethics
Riley Thompson (10th grade) Carson Laehr (10th grade) in Sports and Entertainment Marketing
Levi Bogue (9th grade) Professional Selling
Caroline Schenck (10th grade) and Mayerling Lopez (10th grade) in Buying and Merchandising Team
Megan Neton (10th grade) in Food Marketing
Hannah Frink (11th grade) in Hotel and Lodging
Evan Allen (12th grade) and Cody Eckhoff (12th grade) in Hospitality Team
Anthony Velardo (9th grade) in Automotive Services
Hannah Kilpatrick (9th grade) in Tourism Professional Selling
Nashaly Medina (10th grade) and Haely Mendoza (11th grade) in Marketing Campaign Product -Written
Brenna Boatman (9th grade), Mya Thompson (9th grade) and Aliza Johnson (9th grade) in Marketing Campaign Event – Written
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