Moffat County DECA team will send 19 students to state competition |

Moffat County DECA team will send 19 students to state competition

The Moffat County High School DECA team celebrates multiple wins during their district competition on Monday, Nov. 7, 2022, at Colorado Northwestern Community College. The program will send 19 students to the state event.
Courtesy Photo

Moffat County High School hosted the district tournament on Monday, Nov. 6, for the DECA programs of the Western Slope and had 19 students qualify for the state level competition in early 2023.

DECA places high schoolers in scenarios that recreate real-world business decisions to get a sense of what true careers might be in a variety of fields, ranging from the hospitality industry to automotive to marketing. The Bulldogs won in 14 categories and also qualified five more members for state during the district event at Colorado Northwestern Community College.

Adviser Krista Schenck noted that only two MoCo students were unable to compete at the meet, which was also attended by Durango and a collective team from Western Colorado Community College in Grand Junction.

“None of their high schools have it, and it’s all dual-enrollment, they just host it at the college there,” Schenck said of the WCCC team. “They were all really into it, we’ve been to a ton of competitions all over the state this year to get them ready. We’re one of the few small schools that fundraises to do that, and that’s part of what makes us super competitive.”

MCHS junior Megan Neton won the apparel and accessories competition, which included a lengthy test and role-playing how she would approach tasks in the fashion world. Neton, who also qualified for state last year, said she picked the category because of her interest in the clothing industry.

“It was an easy choice to make, and the prompts are really fun,” she said. “It’s a good opportunity to figure out if you want to go into business for your career, and it’s also a good way to meet other kids from Colorado and expand your horizon.”

Riley Thompson, also a junior, went with sports and entertainment marketing, which involves creating a marketing plan for a certain group or project in those worlds. Knowledge of sports statistics or pop culture doesn’t hurt, but it’s also not the focus.

“This time it was a sports team, but another year it was an opera house, and you have to figure out how to attract new customers,” he said. “For example, we had to make a soccer team appeal to females, so we had to focus on how the business would appeal to females more than like, how many points the team is making. It’s like one of those math problems where you focus on what the business needs rather than what they’re actually doing.”

Within the business law and ethics category, junior Caroline Schenck said there are many factors that are tricky for her team.

“Our last one was about whether a company’s slogan was ethical and if they could sell it or market it and have the community think it was ethical in their opinion. You’d need to come up with ways to improve it if it’s not ethical,” she said. “It’s hard to determine what the changing world thinks is ethical. A lot of things in society are changing.”

The majority of students in the program are engaged in both DECA and Future Business Leaders of America, which will have its district event in late January.

“Now that we’ve got so many of them going to state, the goal is to get more of them to nationals,” Krista Schenck said. “We didn’t get anybody to nationals for DECA last year; we got one for FBLA.”

She added that students are taking little time to relax and diving right back into preparation for the state event months down the road.

“Riley got done with his competition, already made state and his first comment was, ‘OK, we need to keep practicing. I want to learn more about using visual aids better,’” she said.

With her mother running the team, Caroline Schenck said DECA has been an enjoyable activity.

“It’s really fun. You get to travel a lot and go to a lot of fancy hotels,” she said. “You also get to meet some really awesome, nerdy people and network with other schools.”

Moreover, the program builds real-world abilities.

“It teaches you all kinds of skills about thinking on the spot and coming up with ideas and talking to people,” Caroline said. “There will always be people who are older and more important than you and you have to figure out how to stand up for yourself and make the best decisions.”

Thompson said listening is among the most crucial skills he’s learned, specifically picking up notes from people who are qualified to give them.

“It’s about taking constructive criticism and not just defending yourself,” he said. “A lot of judges will offer us advice on what we can do better, and that’s really important for later in life.”

Moffat County DECA state qualifiers

• Nicholas Bailey, Brenna Boatman, MaryAnne Booker, Aliza Johnson, Hannah Kilpatrick — marketing campaign
• Haley Boatman — personal finance
• Levi Bogue, Carson Laehr, Riley Thompson — sports and entertainment
• Hannah Frink — hotel and lodging
• Jonah Jenison, Wyatt Tucker — travel and tourism
• Gabriel Klingbeil — entrepreneurship
• Travis LeFevre — automotive
• Mayerling Lopez, Caroline Schenck — business law and ethics
• Megan Neton — apparel and accessories
• Bella Short — quick service restaurant
• Mya Thompson — food marketing

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