DECA takes a turn with Zoom

Students virtually compete in DECA Districts


Madelyn Christiansen

Junior Nathan Ray using Zoom for his virtual competition. for DECA.

Madelyn Christiansen, Staff Reporter

On Saturday, Jan. 30, Millard West DECA competed in the annual District competition. Instead of traveling to another school and competing all day like previous years, members stayed at their home schools and used Zoom to compete. Millard West had five members compete in all different categories and three ended up placing in theTop 5.  

Once in the Zoom, judges would break everyone into separate breakout rooms based on what category they were competing in, some of these categories include business administration, marketing, hospitality and entrepreneurship. Each member still had to take the 100 question industry based test a few days prior to the competition. The competition also includes a role play where students are given a scenario they could potentially face in the business world. Individual contenders were given ten minutes to come up with their best solution while duos had 15 minutes. 

After the prep time, competitors presented their ideas to the judges; this year it was in a private Zoom meeting. Members practice their role plays for weeks to prepare for the competitions and even judge each other at times. Junior and first time DECA member Nathan Ray placed third in the automotive category for his first competition. 

“I wasn’t quite sure what to expect because it’s my first time doing DECA, but after a few minutes I was able to relax and focus on the role play,” Ray said. “I only had 10 minutes to prepare for the judge and come up with my pitch, so I was thankful for the practice tests beforehand.”

Senior Eric Wu placed third in the food marketing services category, and first year competitor junior Connor Baker placed first in the accounting category for the competition. 

“I wanted to try DECA because I’m interested in business,” Baker said. “This year is weird being on zoom but it’s my first year so I don’t know much about it.”

As many people have used Zoom in the past year, many will know that connection issues happen a lot. With hundreds of kids using Zoom to compete from multiple different high schools at the same time, it makes connecting and staying connected very difficult. These new challenges brought on by virtual competitions have affected not only competitors but also the results of the competition. 

“The Zoom kept kicking me and my partner out of the waiting room, and we had no way to really get back in,” senior Brandon Le said. “In the past these problems never happened, so it was kind of hard to figure out how to do everything virtual.”

Although technology has made DECA competitions very different, Millard West students still dressed up in their business professional attire. Students wore full suits or dress attire just like previous years. 

“I think it’s really important to still wear professional clothes even on Zoom,” Le said. “It shows the judges that you are serious and professional, and in normal circumstances, you would wear professional attire so why not on Zoom as well.”

The next competition for Millard West is the State DECA competition on March 18 and 19.