Leading the competition

Millard West DECA competes at State


Photo courtesy of Ashley Dworak

The DECA team poses for a photo before the competition begins on March 17. 12 students will be representing Millard West at the national competition in Atlanta. “The team has been preparing for the State competition leading back all the way to the beginning of the year,” DECA president senior Natanael Ray said. “ Through events like the First-Timers Competition and our own internal practice competition, members have been getting used to the structure of what a competitive DECA event looks like.”

Camille O'Neill, Sports Director

Millard West DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) students competed in their annual State competition on Thursday, March 17 and Friday, March 18. They competed for a spot in the National competition, which takes place in Atlanta next month.

The Wildcats had several students place in the top eight of their respective categories, including senior Gavyn Hoff in Apparel and Accessories Marketing, senior Emily Buesing in Food Marketing Series, junior Sadie Kottich in Human Resources Management, junior David Freiburger in Marketing Communication Series, sophomore Quentin Nelson in Principles of Business Management and Administration, senior Adam Cottrell in Principles of Finance, senior Logan Hannam in Principles of Marketing, sophomore Jaclyn Johnson in Retail Merchandising Series and junior Macy Martin in RFSM. The first and second place finishers included senior Nathanael Ray finishing first in Project Management Business Solutions and second in Advanced Services Marketing, Chloe Kirschner finishing first in PHT, and senior Connor Baker finishing first in both ACT and FDR.

“I thought our DECA students did an outstanding job,” DECA sponsor Brady Hohl said. “They definitely exceeded my expectations, and I’m one to always set high expectations. Almost everyone placed in the top eight for their categories, and we had multiple first place winners and multiple top three finishers.”

The team spent much of the last two months preparing for the competition, which has two parts. The first part included a written test that tested the students’ ability to remember concepts related to the category, and this portion was half of their overall score. Each Friday in the month of February, the team held optional practice sessions to go over questions that would appear on the test in their respective category.

The second part of the competition involves students participating in roleplay, where they were given a situation and needed to figure out ways to solve the problem presented. They did this by either acting out the situation or creating visual projects describing the situation. The competitors needed to present their projects to the judges and explain how the project addresses the issue.

Throughout the team’s preparation,  Ray guided the members through the process of creating their projects and getting them ready for competition. In addition to his leadership roles, he competed in the category of Project Management Business Solutions, which involved a written project that he worked on throughout the first half of the school year, as well as the Advanced Services Marketing category.

“As DECA President my main role is to really just interact with our advisors and offer advice when needed,” Ray said. “I help plan events for the chapter, lead meetings and answer questions other members may have.” 

In addition to competition, there were elections held to determine the DECA officers at the state level for next year. Kottich was elected Vice President Officer for the 2022-2023 school year.

“For the campaign, I had to go through a screening in order to be eligible to run where the board of directors questioned me,” Kottich said. “We got to choose from two speech topics and then we had to give a speech. There was a Q&A portion to show personality and then after that I had to get confirmed to run. I was slated to run as secretary, but I was voted VP.”

There are four VP positions available that Kottich and the other VPs will decide between when they meet on March 30. These positions include the VP of Communication, VP of Membership and VP of Alumni.

The DECA students will try to carry their success on throughout Nationals and the program will try to build on this year’s success next year. All of the top eight finishers in each category will compete at Nationals next month.