DECA Competes at Area

The Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) fall conference gave students an opportunity to see what business is like and provides educational benefits. 

Business and Marketing teacher Kimberlie Root has been the main DECA adviser for 10 years at PHS. She has been a part of DECA for 25 years; before she was the main adviser, Root was helping with DECA. 

“From day one of being a business teacher at Puyallup High School, I helped or assisted with DECA. It has only been the last 10 years or so that I have been the main adviser,” Root said. 

Students can prepare for the DECA competitions by doing practice role plays or vocabulary. Practice role play is where you have 10 minutes to prepare your “business meeting,” then you share your “business meeting” with the judges, but there are performance indicators contestants have to discuss. 

DECA is part of the marketing classes, so most preparation is done during the class time. Marketing 2 students write a business plan and some Marketing 3 students complete written projects which will be submitted for competition,” Root said. 

Before the Fall Leadership Conference, it is important that students gain confidence and use the skills they gained through DECA when speaking to other people.  

“I think students gain confidence in themselves and are better prepared for interviews and speaking to others,” Root said. “For FLC, [Fall Leadership Conference] I am basically chaperoning students. There are also sessions for advisors to attend, which I will do.” 

During the DECA FLC, Root chaperones students and attends sessions.  

“My biggest responsibility for the Fall Leadership Conference is all the paperwork that is required and making sure to complete the registration process and meet the deadlines,” Root said. “DECA is the best part of our marketing program.” 

After the competition and sessions Root attends, she always finds new ways to better her curriculum, and the students learning as well.  

“Fall Leadership Conference enhances students’ experience in class and excites and motivates many students for competition,” Root said. “The Fall leadership conference is also a time when DECA advisors throughout Washington state get time to network with each other.” 

Although the FLC is not a competition, Root said the first competition will take place Jan. 7 at Bonney Lake High School; it is an opportunity for students to qualify at nationals. 

“In December we start the first part of the Area competition, which is testing students who place at area are qualified to attend and compete at our state which is called State Career Development Conference,” Root said. “Students who place here qualify to attend nationals which is called International Career Development Conference which will be held in Orlando, Florida in April. I plan to take at least 4 students this year.” 

Senior Isabelle Welch is a DECA state officer. Welch says she gets to make many connections with other members. Welch originally signed up for business class but over time she has begun to love DECA and thinks it has been fun. 

“I get to represent 10 to 15-ish schools and I get to speak in front of 1,000s of people, which was just a really special experience and especially being able to lead workshops and build a connection with other DECA members from around the state,” Welch said. 

There is a beneficial aspect in running the school’s café, it gives students a sense of what running a business would be like. 

“I would say at least at the chapter so our school it’s given us all a realistic view of what running a business is like. So, we run our café, me and a few other managers have to keep track of HR and finances and making sure that everything is running smoothly,” Welch said. 

DECA has so many different opportunities and they are considered to be crucial in the real world. Like meeting new people and having an interaction with someone you don’t know is really important. 

“I would say [DECA] has not only given me people, but I’ve made a lot of friendships, some of my best friends have come from DECA,” Welch said. “And then also I’ve learned a ton about competing and talking to higher up. When you’re at a competition, you meet a lot of people who are influential and so when you get to make a connection with them, it’s pretty much giving you a real-world experience and then to kind of introduce yourself and be professional.” 

Welch said her favorite DECA competition is the 20-page written project because you get to prepare for it and treat it like it’s your own business. 

“ So, you really learned about the financial and marketing side of everything. It’s a really good way to learn about business all around,” Welch said. 

Welch does chapter visits with the schools to see how they are running the stores and gives recommendations based on what she sees. 

“I get to do chapter visits, so I get to visit the schools. I get to see how they’re running their school stores and if I have recommendations and if they have questions, I get to help them with that,” Welch said. 

Although people do get frightened when talking in front of so many people, Welch shares one way on how she got over her fear. 

“So, I’d say when you’re onstage you look out and then the lights are just like they blind you so just to tell yourself they’re all here to listen to you and that sort of thing. It’s really just convincing yourself to be confident, I guess,” Welch said. 

Being a DECA state officer takes a lot of time and dedication. 

“It definitely gets difficult. It’s a pain sometimes,” Welch said. “We have Zoom meetings at least twice a week for my state officer meetings; I keep a planner, I have a calendar on my phone, and I have an Office 365. I am pretty much just making sure I can be keeping track on my phone… even working hard, everyone goes through emotional imbalances. Sometimes I don’t want to do everything, but it’s just working out what I love and just thinking about my goals.”  

Welch prepares for DECA competitions by doing practice roll play with her class.  

“Yeah, so before [DECA] competitions, our class pretty much does practice roll play, we also compete in 20 bids and 50 bid projects. So, describing those coming up with a plan, just doing a bunch of practice,” Welch said.