Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) is an inter-curricular organization that prepares rising pioneers and business visionaries in advertising, finance and management.
Each year, DECA hosts a series of competitions such as the DECA States event in which the students throughout the state compete as the feeder to the national competition. The Cowboys came out successful at this year’s state competition, with a total of 47 national qualifiers.
Interestingly enough, CCHS has a history of sending a grand number of qualifiers to DECA Nationals with over 900 in its DECA history, the most of any school in Florida as this title was given last year. Through the challenges of the pandemic, the Cowboys have not appeared to slow down their success.
To ensure the safety of all schools participating, all DECA competitions this school year were held virtually, all the way from the local to the national level. Despite the accommodations, this could create a rift in the teamwork and some awkwardness for newcomers.
Each year there are two students on the DECA officer team that are solely dedicated to helping the Cooper City High chapter with competitive events. This year they are Nathan Reed, Vice President of Written Events, and Dylan Bober, Vice President of Testing and Roleplay.
“I just made sure that I was organized from the start. I made a weekly agenda and followed through making sure all my assignments were turned in on time,” Reed said. “I also made sure to have a good group of friends there to keep me up to pace if I fell behind.”
DECA competitions consist of two major tracks. There are the written events which are 10- or 20-page business plans and presentations similar to a Shark Tank pitch. The other path is via testing and roleplay events, which consist of a 100 question test in a business-related subject like marketing, finance or human resources, as well as a roleplay situation in the same category.
Students choose which track to focus on at the start of the year (written or roleplay) and are prepped by attending competition meetings on Mondays via Microsoft Teams.
To combat any issues faced by the COVID-19 pandemic, both Bober and Reed had to get creative with their competition preparation delivery to keep the students engaged and ensure their success. They founded the Testing Track Program in order to do that.
“This year I started a new program to help students in testing events to prepare for their competition.”Vice President of Testing and Roleplay Dylan Bober
“This year I started a new program to help students in testing events to prepare for their competition,” Bober said. “Students studied business knowledge, took practice tests and attended live review sessions I hosted.”
The program seemed to be a success, as it provided more resources for students to work on every week via a Canvas course.
“The new Testing Track program led to a 65% increase in the number of students who qualified to Nationals, year over year,” Bober said.
As the program played a key role in the competitive development of CCHS DECA competitors, their success is overall attributed to both their individual and group efforts.
“The student’s success in DECA Nationals this year is a combination of a strong work ethic, great teamwork, and a desire to succeed,” CCHS DECA Advisor Regina Ferreira said. “We are so fortunate to have such a dedicated—or should I say, ‘DECA-cated’—officer team and chapter members. It really takes everyone working together to achieve our goals.”
After this preparation, the Cooper City High School DECA had multiple placements in the finals as sophomore Ainsley Ciavarella placed in the Apparel and Accessories Marketing Series category, junior Ashley Ferrelli placed in the Stock Market Game category and juniors Tatum Anchell and Desiree Kurtz placed in the Community Giving Project category.
Photo courtesy of Principal Vera Perkovic on Twitter