Cutthroat Colorado DECA Heads to Nationals

Carter Reiter, Reporter

Colorado DECA is ranked 10th in international membership with  7,856 members, making it some of the steepest competition in the game.  This year, February 21-23, the Durango DECA Chapter headed up to Colorado Springs to compete at the state level and to get the chance to qualify for DECA Nationals which will be held in Nashville, Tennessee, April 22-27.

“Members at DECA state compete for a chance to compete at ICDC (Internationals). Rather than advance to nationals (like other countries) CO members advance straight to internationals, since state members equal that of many countries. Typically the top five in each event advance to ICDC, while the top 12 are recognized as finalists on stage. However, what I failed to realize is that I picked the most popular event. I remember walking into the prep room and seeing that my event took up about half the chairs, and mentally freaking out. There were sixteen sections in my event, and you had to win your section to advance to finals. As a result of such a large event the top seven advance to ICDC. I placed fourth,” said So. Abby Scott.

This year, eight kids qualified for the national competition in four different events. Joaquin Valdez, Charlie McClung, and Tanus Yoder won first for their Independent Business Plan, Abby Scott and Paxton Scott were awarded fifth for their Marketing Communication Team Decision Marketing, Mason Stetler and Jared Webster were awarded third for the Creative Marketing Plan, and Harry Steinberg was awarded fourth for his Startup Business Plan.

“When I found out we ’d qualified first in state I was stoked and I jumped on the podium and yelled, ‘We did it boys!’ And held the trophy above my head. I’m still stoked about it. And it was scary because they named sixth place to second and then there was one spot left and I didn’t think it would be us, and then it WAS. I still can’t believe it,” said Sr. Charlie MccLung.

In DECA, there are multiple different categories that students can qualify through to go to Nationals. There are five career clusters: Business and Management & Administration, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Hospitality and Tourism, and Marketing.

“There’s lots of categories spanning from most facets of business. They span from financial literacy to fashion merchandising to start-up businesses. It’s an incredibly diverse club. I qualified through the Independent Business Plan. We basically wrote a thirty page pitch as if we were requesting a loan. The judges score us and how well we have thought through and planned, as well as how we present it,” said Sr. Joaquin Valdez

Not only is the Colorado DECA State competition an opportunity for students to qualify for DECA Nationals, it is also an opportunity to compete at the Broadmoor Hotel, one of the most popular hotels in Colorado Springs.

The five-star hotel was founded in 1918 by Spencer Penrose and is one of the oldest buildings in Colorado Springs.  The hotel offers a variety of activities such as golfing, a spa, tennis courts, fly fishing school, an indoor, infinity pool, and lap pool, a fitness center, boating, a movie theater, and various museums.

“We stayed at the Double Tree and traveled to the Broadmoor everyday to compete in our competitions. The Broadmoor provided DECA with their convention rooms for DECA kids to present their role plays and writtens. The Broadmoor is a huge and extremely opulent and over the top, we were all disappointed to hear we had to stay at the Double Tree,” said Jr. Anna Joslin.

Joslin hopes to return to DECA States next year and qualify.

While this was the first time for many DECA participants from Durango to compete at a five-star hotel, it was also the first time for national double qualifiers from the Durango DECA chapter: the role play team of Paxton Scott and Abby Scott became the first double national qualifiers in the Durango DECA chapter, placing 5th in Marketing Communications as well as qualifying in their individual events. Paxton Scott placed 1st in the state and 10th in the region for the Stock Market Game, while Abby Scott placed 4th in Advertising Campaign.

“What do I love about DECA?
I completely stumbled into DECA by mistake; my twin brother pulled me into a lunch meeting my freshmen year. I didn’t know a lot of the kids involved and I didn’t really have any particular interest in business. I cannot believe how much my opinion changed. A year later I’ve made some really close friends, found a passion in marketing, and gotten to know the best adviser in Colorado. As cheesy as it might sound I love DECA because I entered a club designed for competition, and somehow ended up with a DECA family,” said Scott.