DECA advances to state


Courtesy of DECA

DECA finalists

Hadley Hudson, Co-Editor in Chief

DECA, one of the biggest student organizations at VHS, went to the District Career Development Conference last weekend and had 67 students advance to the state level. Eighty percent of the students who went to the competition advanced, and they will be going to state at San Antonio from February 23-25.

“We are ecstatic. This is the largest group our chapter has ever advanced to state,” DECA co-advisor and marketing teacher Erin Mathis said. “We are still a young chapter, so this success is overwhelming and exciting.”

The students competing advanced in a large variety of subjects, including finance, hospitality, entrepreneurship and business development. There are two types of events at the competition: role play events and written events.

“I am the advisor for written events and Ms. Mathis handles the role plays,” DECA co-advisor and business teacher Candace Naaser said. “We both help guide the students to choose their event based on their talents and interests. For written events I help them choose their idea, company or promotional plan to write about and assist as needed throughout the process of completing the paper. Some event categories require a 5 page paper, some 11 and others 30 pages. I also guide the students in preparing the presentation of their paper which is about 15 minutes long. We had 19 written events this year so no doubt this was a lot of work, but worth it.”

DECA is an organization made to prepare students for their future and give them an opportunity to explore many parts of business to find what interests them. Some students have been involved in DECA and have seen success since the beginning of their high school careers such as Kelli Steward, a senior who has advanced to state for three years in a row, and also serves as a club officer.

“This year we did a really good job of making sure that everyone was well prepared,” Steward said. “We stayed on top of everyone, and the future of DECA is very bright because there are many underclassmen that are already competing.”

Out of the 67 teams that advanced, many were underclassmen. For example, out of the three  groups that advanced in the Entrepreneur Innovation Plan category, two  of them were freshmen teams.

I think so many succeeded this year because our students are such bright, determined and persistent young people,” Naaser said. “We thought this we would be a rebuilding year because we graduated so many seniors in 2016. But, we had a number of freshman advance which says a lot about our future.”

Although the VHS DECA chapter is relatively young compared to the others in the district, they are growing each year and succeeding more every year as well.

“Our competition team is hardworking and dedicated to success. I am continuously overwhelmed at the level of commitment our kids put towards DECA,” Mathis said. “They want to succeed and make it a priority. We couldn’t ask for better students.”