Students compete in the DECA state competition

Ava Larsen and Rachel Friedman pose together before the competition.

Molly Thomas

Ava Larsen and Rachel Friedman pose together before the competition.

On Sunday, March 13, 26 students traveled to the Lake of the Ozarks to compete in the DECA state competition at the Lodge of Four Seasons.

The students who placed at the DECA competition in February 10 got the opportunity to go to state.

“I felt like at state, people were a lot more serious. Everything is taken even more seriously than last time. But it’s super fun to see people from all over Missouri and all the different schools,” junior Ava Larsen said.

The state competition took place on Monday morning. The students took a shuttle to get from their hotel, Camden on the Lake, to the Lodge of Four Seasons, where the events were held.

“It took about ten minutes to get to the Lodge on the shuttle. Even though it was kind of annoying to wait for, it was still kind of fun. We met some guys from Kansas City on the shuffle who were also in the competition. They ended up getting first place! It was cool to meet so many new people from different schools,” junior Molly Thomas said.

The students started the competition by taking an hour-long, 100 question test which served as the written part of their evaluation. They then had 30 minutes to prepare for a role-play with a fake client.

“Zack Quoss and I were instructed to make our client an investment plan and pick out different financial institutions for them to invest their money in with low risk. Because they were 33 and about to get married with no retirement plan, we set him up with a 401(k) and invested him in some real estate. We also set him up with a mutual fund and low risk stocks. We did well but unfortunately we did not qualify for internationals,” junior Michael DeFrank said.

The students competed in several different marketing categories and discussed their role-plays with judges and were given scores.

“My partner was Rachel Friedman and our category was marketing communications. It was nerve-wracking to make sure that we talked about everything and hit every point. But once we got going, it started to flow naturally,” Larsen said.

On Monday night, there was a DECA party and a hypnotist for entertainment at the Lodge.

“It was so weird! People were doing such odd and funny stuff. That was probably one of my favorite parts of the whole trip,” Thomas said.

The students were given a lot of freedom, which they used to spend time with new friends from the competition and explore the area.

“I was pleasantly surprised at how much freedom we had. It was our responsibility to get ourselves to the meeting, interviews and meals on our own time. They treated us like adults which was nice,” DeFrank said.

One student from West qualified for internationals, senior Jack O’Connor. He placed 6th in the automotive services category. He will move on to the national competition in Nashville from April 22 to 27.

“The competition was actually a lot harder than I expected. I thought the role plays were more difficult than last time. They threw a lot more at me than I anticipated, which made it a lot harder. I honestly didn’t think I did as well as I actually did, but I’m glad everything worked out,” O’Connor said.