Leading in business

DECA students compete at Districts


photo courtesy Ashley Dworak

After leaving behind the stresses of exams and roleplays, the competitors put on a talent show during the score analysis period. On stage, junior Lillian McCrae and junior David Freiburger perform a karaoke routine in front of their peers. “After all the hard work we’ve done, we really needed a time where we could just have fun,” McCrae said. “We decided to do karaoke because it’s something that would not only bring our DECA chapter together but also with other schools.”

Quinn Burton, Staff Reporter

Students across Nebraska competed at Millard South on Jan. 29 for DECA’s District competition. Millard West’s 2021-22 DECA chapter left the competition with 10 academic achievement awards.

DECA’s competitive events are aligned with the career clusters of marketing, business management and administration, finance, hospitality and tourism. During these events, an evaluation process involves students in both a written component, such as an exam, and an interactive component, functioning as a role play with an industry professional serving as a judge. These competitive events directly contribute to every student being career-ready when they graduate from high school.

To prepare for their competition, students had sample role plays in their marketing classes, held monthly meetings and even competed in their own internal competition in November to imitate what they would experience at Metros. 

“Anything you would learn in a business class at Millard West is the material you’d utilize at our competitions,” DECA advisor Ashley Dworak said. “When competing, students are given a scenario based on a hypothetical company, and they need solutions and ideas on how to promote the business or how to put that business in a better financial situation. There’s really a wide array of options.”

During the competition, students were able to choose from six different categories to compete in, with each relating to an aspect of DECA’s curriculum. Millard West’s DECA chapter split into nine teams to combat each category. For each interactive roleplay, students were given 10 minutes to come up with a presentation that related to their task. Each pair was given a case study to analyze, with essential information relating to the operation of a business in a specific career area. Once their 10 minutes were up they presented their plan to a judge, who is a professional in the industry. 

“I competed individually in the Restaurant Food Service Management (RFSM) category,” junior Lillian McCrae said. “I had previous experience working in the restaurant field so I figured this would be the perfect category for me to compete in. I was nervous competing alone at first, but I’m glad I did because my hard work paid off, since I finished in first place.”

For sophomore Jaclynn Johnson and her partner Claire Sellinger, they were given a roleplay in the Hospitality and Tourism category. For their task, they were given the choice of whether to stay at a smaller hotel business, buy a share in a bigger hotel industry or if it would be more beneficial to leave the career field. After their 10 minutes of decision-making, the pair chose to buy a larger share of the company, which paid off as it led them to the 4th place spot in the competition. 

“Overall I thought my and my partner’s performance was excellent, but one aspect I wish to improve on is our teamwork,” sophomore Jaclynn Johnson said. “We didn’t know each other very well; we’ve only completed a small number of times, so just getting to know one another better in our tendencies and speaking would really help us get that top spot in the future.”

When all was said and done, this group of students left with their heads high and hopes to continue their streak at the State competition in March. As these students continue to improve upon their techniques, they hope to evolve their knowledge of business and management.