DECA members advance to Nationals in Atlanta

Business club DECA had a total of 15 high school students participate in the state competition this year. This year, the theme for competitions is maximize your momentum. Megan Anton, Lindsey Schriber, Anna Scannel, Lindsey Stabenow, Colby Cryer, Kimi Du, Lucy Dunning, Hannah Budke, Jake Witham and Reese Gallagher all have been accepted to compete at international competitions on Apr. 23-27 in Atlanta.

The program is known for competing in a variety of different subject areas. Business teacher and DECA adviser Mike Hansel explained how competitions are run. “Right now we’ve got people that are doing entrepreneurship, travel and tourism marketing, business management, professional selling, marketing, and restaurant and foodservice. I’ve had students do business law in the past,” he said.

DECA hosts three different competitions throughout the year. There are Districts, which are locally sponsored in Waverly, consisting of a practice trial run for everybody. Next comes the State, which welcomes anybody, located in Des Moines. To be accepted for Internationals, students must place first, second or third at state competitions. 

The Cedar Falls international winning team discovered its accomplishments at State on Monday morning during the awards presentation. The announcement was released, raising more excitement to the idea of winning first place.  

Competitions are typically in the same format each time. Students receive a scenario where they then compose a plan and present their idea via role-playing in front of several judges. Students performing individually are given 10 minutes to prepare and 30 minutes if in a group setting. A written test is also required, where at the end, scores are combined.

The chance to travel out of state along with the possibility of winning a trophy is finally at the students’ fingertips. “After all the competitions, well, we’re currently still fundraising for our celebration, but what we’ll probably do is plan for next year and look for a new group of students to lead the team for next year,” Hansel said. 

Hansel said, “DECA is a great opportunity for students because it’s a great way to develop communication, presentation and business skills, even if you’re not going into business.”

Cryer said this year was his first in DECA. He was in the Principals of Business Management and Administration category. “It is an individual competition category, so it was more just me individually rather than the team, but everyone on the team did encourage each other before competitions,” Cryer said.

He said the business classes he is enrolled in is currently reviewing a lot of what is needed to know for competitions. “The business teachers at Cedar Falls are fantastic and were always there to help me or answer questions I had. I have also had some experience in my part-time jobs that I’ve had outside of school. That helped me to get first-hand experience in some ways too,” Cryer said. 

Cryer said state competitions were a really fun experience. Consisting of two parts, the competition was on a Sunday afternoon with the awards ceremony following the next morning. “There was a 100 question multiple-choice test that I took, and then there was the 10-minute scenario presentation to a judge. In Des Moines, I was given a business scenario and had 10 minutes to construct a presentation with my response to the scenario. Then immediately after that, I presented it to a judge. I received a score on both the test and the presentation, and then when the scores were combined, that was my final score,” he said.

Cryer said he only joined DECA because some of his friends influenced him. When the results were released, he said he was really surprised. “I was so happy. I did not expect it to happen, either. I ended up winning State and qualifying for Nationals, so that was a really fun experience for me,” he said. 

He said he is looking forward to Nationals, for it will be really fun. However, due to this being Cryer’s first year in DECA, he doesn’t know what to expect. “A few of my friends qualified too, so it will be really fun to go down there with them. I wish everyone on the team qualified though, that would’ve been even better. I’m looking forward to competing at the national level too, and seeing how well I can do,” he said.

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