20 Carrboro High School representatives competed at a Distributive Education Clubs of America event on December 15 in Sanford, NC. While DECA may sound foreign to most, DECA is an expanding club of 37 students at CHS.
Prior to a DECA competition, each competitor signs up for a category that sparks their interest within one of five different career clusters: Business Management and Administration, Entrepreneur- ship, Marketing, Finance or Hospitality and Tourism. There are about 55 potential categories to specialize in. Categories and competitive events range from Retail Merchandising to Sports and Entertainment Marketing to Human Resources Management.
According to Julie Francis, club advisor for DECA and Honors Strategic Marketing teacher at Carrboro, students take a test on their field of focus and participate in a role-play during the competition.
During role-plays, DECA competitors must present to a panel of judges how they would handle a certain real-world situation relating to their field of expertise. The judges evaluate and score each competitor’s presentation based on various factors. A combination of scores from both the written test and role-play determine an overall score.
“We had a great time. It was wonderful to see the students so passionate about this [program],” said Francis.
Five CHS students earned a total of eight honors or awards in a variety of categories at the December competition in Sanford. Juniors Pierre Perrin and Kirby Thornton placed in the top ten for their category’s written test. Junior Cole Phillips and seniors Taylor Gosk and Mackenzie Linstead earned overall scores in the top ten. Thornton placed third overall out of a pool of about 400 competitors.
“My favorite part of DECA is that it brings out confidence in even the shyest members. While you’re competing, you take on the role of a professional member of society, but it’s more like becoming a better version of yourself,” said Thornton.
The purpose of DECA is to develop future leaders and entre- preneurs by equipping students with tools for success in the real world. The DECA Club at Carrboro is just one of a network of 3,500 high school programs and 275 collegiate programs worldwide, totaling more than 215,000 members.
As CHS continues to expand in its student involvement with DECA, Thornton emphasized that the club is open to anyone. No experience with CTE subjects is required to become a DECA member.
“DECA is an amazing op- portunity and can open up more doors than you would think,” said Thornton. “DECA connects you to students all across the world. DECA is more than just a school club; it’s an organization that teaches kids while they’re having fun.”