For kids who want to go into business, DECA, a business organization, is a great way to get them started. The DECA organization prepares students for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality, and sales. The first competition is districts, which took place last Friday, January 9th, at the Christian Family Church in Owatonna. Towns around Owatonna attend and compete for the state competition in early March. Each person competes in two individual events and one team event that they choose during the initial sign up period during the beginning of the school year. In order to go to state, a student must also achieve ten DECA points through community service. In past years, OHS DECA has raised the bar for the competition.
This year, Owatonna students didn’t disappoint. DECA advisor and OHS business teacher Mr. Scott Pierce said, “We had 50-60 kids make state this year, I was very impressed. Now let’s hope they can build on this and all do well there too.” State qualifiers were announced on Monday morning. Going into the meeting, students were anxious to find out if they qualified for state. Senior Nate Clark qualified in two events, but was disappointed he did not place as well as last year. “I was surprised my partner and I didn’t get 1st, but it’s obviously still exciting when you hear your name called,” said Clark. OHS students show improvement in business each year as more and more DECA members qualify for state. First year member, senior Nick Medo, also qualified. He said, “I was confident going in, so I wasn’t really surprised when my name was called. I was relieved.” One of the many components to performing well at these competitions is to meet all the performance indicators the judges are looking for and to have confidence in yourself. Another first year member and Medo’s partner, senior Justin Tacheny, qualified as well. “I was surprised to do this well as a first-year student, but I’ll take it,” Medo said. Another senior qualifier, Stephen Leon, knows the “easy” part is over. Only the state competition awaits him in his journey to nationals. “I’m really looking forward to state, I think I have a good chance to go even further,” Leon said.
The state competition is held in a hotel in Minneapolis. Four kids stay together in one room, and all of the students who qualify for state are housed at the same hotel. Not only is this an opportunity for these kids to show their business prowess, but also to meet new people, have loads of fun, and participate in group activities that go on each night. Leon and Clark both competed at DECA state last year, and their excitement to return speak volumes. Another year of districts is over and Owatonna is still leading the competition. Many of these students and DECA participants are sure to have bright futures in business ahead of them.