DECA Students Kick Off Their Competition Season

By Dia Jain and Keya Sampat

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Westwood DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) members worked yearlong to prepare for their competitions that began Wednesday Jan. 9 when students took their first DECA multiple choice tests. The Career and Technical Education (CTE) teacher and DECA sponsor, Jeffery Siler, left his door open for any DECA member who wanted assistance on improving their scores.

“I love being [the DECA sponsor], it’s the best part of my job.I love being around DECA, students, business, marketing, and sales. It keeps me in touch with what I used to do and enjoyed and I get to continue to do it with students so I got a great job,” Mr. Siler said.

There are two main types of DECA competitions: role play and written events. Members in a role play event have a certain amount of time to come up with a solution to a problem in a business area that they have been given on the day of the competition. All role play events require their members to take a multiple choice test particular to their event. These tests vary in difficulty and members prepared for their individual tests in different ways.

“I prepared by first going through a couple tests with my partner and then I took a few tests by myself and looked at the questions that I got wrong,” Nandika Tyagi ‘21 said. “I didn’t think the test was very hard because a lot of the questions were common sense and didn’t require a lot of knowledge.”

The second type of events are written events, in which participants are required to write a paper in advance about a topic related to their event and present it to a judge on the competition day. Most written event competitions do not require their participants to take a multiple choice test.

“Preparing for the DECA competition gave me the opportunity to learn a lot about marketing. My test was challenging, but it gave me a lot of insight into the business workplace, and I’m excited to compete in the rest of my event coming up,” Anavi Nayak ‘21 said.

Once students make it past the district and state competitions, the final level is the International Career Development Conference (ICDC). At ICDC there are opportunities to develop members interests and skills for careers and colleges. This year, ICDC is located in Orlando, Florida where 18,000 members, advisors, business associates, and alumni are expected to gather. Westwood DECA was ranked number one in the district last year and had 180 students qualify and go to the state competition. Of the many Texas chapters, Westwood DECA sent the most students to ICDC.

“[Through DECA, my hopes are] for the kids to learn, have fun, and just to increase their confidence level both in the event they are doing and in business and life in general. Westwood DECA is a highly talented, eager, and motivated group,” Mr. Siler said. “We are not the largest, but I am obviously biased and think that we are the best. I like to say that the kids are learning and growing, and that we are the best chapter in the state of Texas.”

The district DECA competition will be held on Saturday, Jan. 19 in Bastrop, Texas.