After crushing districts, 11 Spartans took on the DECA State Conference.
On February 25th, Thomas Jefferson’s DECA state qualifiers headed down to the The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs to compete in the annual DECA State Leadership Conference in the hopes to qualify and move on to the annual International Career Development Conference in Anaheim, California from April 26-29th. This year, eleven Spartans went to state, a growing average of qualifiers that continues every year.
Throughout the three day event, over 3,000 students, advisors, and chaperones from over 75 schools in Colorado participated. Students across the state competed in one of more than 50 events ranging from categories like Apparel and Accessories to Sports and Entertainment Marketing. To start off the competition, students took a 100 question multiple choice test that focused on their specific event before arriving at the Broadmoor that determined 50% of the score to qualify for finals. In order to qualify for finals, students’ test scores and scores from their presentations are combined. If the score is high enough to make it to the final round, qualifying students will then compete again to see if they made the final push to nationals.
Whether students qualified for state or wrote a written document called a manual, competed either in role- plays or visual presentations. Role-plays were performed with a judge in the morning and in the afternoon, consisting of a business presentation that demonstrated their understanding of business knowledge, application, and overall performance. Within this evaluation, judges graded students specifically on how they answered their unknown questions, and, more importantly, if they hit all of the important elements of the role-play required to cover. Before the role-plays, students only received a certain amount of time in order to prep; individual competitors had 10 minutes while team competitors had 30 minutes. After preparing for their assigned, random role-play, students then had only 10 minutes with the judge for the presentation. Those who wrote a manual to get to state had to perform a visual presentation to a judge that consisted of orally presenting their 30 page written document about a marketing project of their choice. “Competing at DECA State is always a fun experience. Last year, I had two events, which gave me plenty of time to explore and enjoy being at the Broadmoor. But this year, I decided to challenge myself and had three different tasks at state, including role-plays, a manual, and I competed for a State Officer position. It was challenging, but totally worth it due to it allowing me to step out of my comfort zone and take risks.” explained junior Valyntine Lonergan regarding her duties at State and how they differ in experience from last year.
Between competitions, students had to attend professional workshops that were executed by DECA’s national sponsors such as Men’s Wearhouse, Make a Wish Foundation, and the Fashion Institute. Workshops helped students learn and develop professional qualities that could help them later on in life or even in their role-plays. Besides workshops, students also got to explore the Broadmoor and all that it offers during their free time. “Staying at the Broadmoor was a once in a lifetime experience that I’m glad I got to take part in. The Broadmoor is an extraordinary hotel that really lives up to it’s reputation.” said junior Koryn Artis about her stay at the Broadmoor.
To conclude the trip, members from all schools came together for closing ceremony to announce and recognize those who made it to finals, the new state officer team, and who will be continuing on to nationals. Out of the eleven competitors, junior John Rivera made it to finals, but narrowly missed qualifying for nationals; junior Valyntine Lonergan ran for a state officer position, but also unfortunately did not receive it. “I am very proud of the way TJ DECA Students performed at the State Conference. I believe all of our participants are better qualified for their future by experiencing the rigorous competition.” added Chapter Advisor, Matthew Nicolo regarding the performance of the qualifiers.
Although TJ DECA walked away without any national qualifiers, it was an overall great event for all DECA members, and a great opportunity to represent not only TJ but Denver Public Schools as a whole.
DECA State Qualifiers
Mia Grijalva, senior: Restaurant and Food Service Management
Brandon Pietrs, senior: Business Services Marketing
Michael Vasilico, senior: Principles of Marketing
Andrew Thibodeau, senior: Principles of Management
Zoya Robbins, junior: Quick Serve Restaurant Management
Koryn Artis, junior: Restaurant and Food Service Management
Valyntine Lonergan, junior: Community Service Manual
Morena Castaneda, junior: Community Service Manual
Ossa Sanders-Craig, sophomore: Food Marketing
John Rivera, junior: Retail Merchandising
Cody Shem, junior: Sports and Entertainment Marketing