Moffat County High School DECA and FBLA team experience record growth | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County High School DECA and FBLA team experience record growth

Club President Isaac Montoya stands in front of the Moffat County High School DECA store with club members Hayden Short, Joshua Gumber and Marisa Hulstine.

— Moffat County High School’s Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) and Future Business Leaders of America has a record 24 students who are already bringing home awards.

Business teacher and club coach Krista Schenck isn't entirely sure why the group doubled in size from last year.

"I think that we have done really well and so we have kept more of our seniors. I'm getting a lot of the younger students," she said. "Some are passionate about business. I think they like the events and like to travel and get dressed-up and show how smart they are. You don't have to be interested in business for this to be valuable to you."

Competitions vary widely but challenge test taking, presentation and team-building skills.

Events are divided into business categories such as travel and tourism, retail merchandising, business management and food marketing. Students compete either individually or as part of a team.

"It's not 100 percent speech and debate. It's a mixture," said first year club member Hayden Short. "I like teams as it's easier to focus and you get more time to prepare."

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Learning to work as a team has also been helpful to Joshua Gumber who is a first year club member and Short's teammate.

"We could bounce ideas off of each other to make sure that what we were saying made sense," Gumber said.

Competition begins with a 100-question test in the subject area followed by role-play. A case study is provided and after 10 to 15 minutes of preparation time competitors present their role-play to the judge.

"It's not as hard as you think it is. It's a lot of fun," said Isaac Montoya who is president of the club.

The team has brought home awards from both Glenwood Springs and Northglenn competitions, but the real rewards are the life skills learned through club participation.

"My summer job was as a result of the skills that I learned last year," Montoya said. "It helps talking to people and interviewing with people so your not as intimidated. We learn critical thinking skills and tests at school become so much easier."

In her forth and final year in DECA, Marisa Hulstine wasn't originally drawn to compete because of an interest in business, but as a way to work on her shyness.

"I have really come along way from my first to my most recent competition," she said. "I didn't join because of business, but because I was really quiet and needed to get out of my shell."

This year's team is working hard to succeed as the top three to five winners of the state competition are eligible to move to the National competition that is being held at Disneyland.

The program is self-funded and with the increase in students, the team will need to raise $15,000 to 20,000 through popcorn sales, school store sales, shirt sales and concession stand sales at events held at the high school.

Moffat County is hosting the district competition at Colorado Northwestern Community College on Dec. 5 with 40 professionals from the business community volunteering to judge.

"We couldn't do it without them," Schenck said. "It's nice to see kids in their top performance level. This is a completely positive experience."

Anyone interested in judging should contact Schenck by emailing her at Krista.schenck@moffatsd.org

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education.