MARKETING MAYHEM: Seniors Yaheli Benjo (left) and Andrea Orozco win an award for their Business Law and Ethics Team Decision-Making category. Along with seven others, Benjo and Orozco qualified for internationals through a high testing score and successful roleplay portraying businesswomen in a financial situation. Photo courtesy of Jessica Ensel
By: Valentina Padula
One of the most popular clubs in the nation, West Broward’s Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) program has continued a streak of successes since its inception. For yet another year, Bobcat DECA has progressed to the international stage to compete against students around the world.
In order to first compete at the state competition in Orlando on Mar. 2-5, DECA testing took place for all members. If they tested high enough in their category or constructed a successful 20-page marketing manual, members moved on to states. Once at the competition, students took part in a roleplay in which they were judged on their ability to prepare a suitable business presentation from an assigned economic prompt.
“Everyone competes with their roleplay,” senior DECA co-president Jessica Ensel said. “The roleplay varies depending on one’s category, but essentially the competitor is given a prompt in which they are to assume a business role as assigned and come up with a quick presentation to present to a judge one-on-one after time is called.”
“Our competition coordinators worked so hard to prepare everyone, teaching each member the best techniques to approach the role play. It was great to see how happy everyone felt after it was over, knowing their hard work paid off.”-Jessica Ensel, 12
At the state competition, nine individuals scored high enough in both testing and their roleplay to move on to the international competition that will be from Apr. 22-25 in Orlando. Nikash Jakkidi will compete in the Business Finance category, Maximo Miori and Ashritha Kallem in the Automotive Services category, Anthony Lysfjord in the Sports and Entertainment Marketing category, Mia Villegas and Alexis Perez in the Principles of Hospitality and Tourism category, Andrea Orozco and Yaheli Benjo in the Business Law and Ethics Team Decision-Making category and Nicholas Gonzalez in the Entrepreneurship category.
“Our members did amazing and I was so proud to see everyone’s hard work pay off,” Ensel said. “Our competition coordinators worked so hard to prepare everyone, teaching each member the best techniques to approach the role play. It was great to see how happy everyone felt after it was over, knowing their hard work paid off.”
While the common qualification entry into states is through testing, students also have the opportunity to produce a 20-page manual in which they are assigned a prompt within their category and write a business plan based on the information provided. While numerous members qualified for states, only one student had qualified with their manual. The lack of high scoring papers, DECA sponsor Tony Shaw said, is something that members need to improve on.
“We need to improve on writing our papers,” Shaw said. “We only qualified one this year, and I have been here for 12 years and we usually qualify three or four people with a paper.”
Like most career-technical clubs, the opportunity to travel and compete against a variety of schools is a unique one. Students are able to gain a broader range of knowledge and experience through competition, which may help those that are considering expanding on the subject as a career later. DECA internationals will provide students with the experience of competing with others from around the world and learning a financial culture that they could explore in the future.
“Internationals has 20,000 people from around the world,” Shaw said. “It is the same people that you are going to eventually deal with after graduation. It is great for connections and it is great to compete against people at a high level.”