State DECA took place in Colorado Springs at the Broadmoor Hotel from February 21 to 23.
“I restarted the DECA program about eight years ago. There had been a program before that, but it had stopped a few years before I joined Heritage,” says Barb Bolen.
This was a historic year for Heritage DECA, because for the first time in a decade a student has placed in the top five and qualified for Nationals.
Before this two students have gone to nationals, but for the Leadership Academy. The Leadership Academy is a conference held at the same time and place, and each school can nominate students to go. The students do not have to had qualified for nationals to go, and are not eligible to compete. This year Maddie Glunz ‘18 is going.
Zoe Witte ‘16 won 4th in Principles of Hospitality, an event where she competed against other students in roleplays centered around the hospitality industry. She was then graded by judges who were currently working in that industry, based off the accuracy and creativity of her solutions.
“I didn’t expect to get into it, but competing ended up being really fun,” admits Witte.
She had to do two role plays, which narrowed it down to the top ten competitors in each category. Witte did one more role play the next day and found out that she had placed.
“Winning was unexpected, but very cool, ” says Witte.
“Going to State was a little overwhelming, there were a ton of people there. But there was a lot of independance and down time, which was nice, and the Broadmoor was very fancy,”
This year seven people made it to State, which is a large number for Heritage. Last year only four people went.
Due to Heritage’s small marketing program, DECA tends to be smaller here than at other schools. Heritage brought less than 30 students to the regional qualifying meet, while other schools brought over 200. Students must be enrolled in a marketing class to be in DECA, so the number of marketing classes Heritage offers limits the size of the DECA program.
Because most Heritage students only compete in DECA for one year, it is hard for students to win against other students who have three more years of experience.
“It’s like a 3A school competing against a 5A school, it’s not an even playing field,” says Bolen.
However there are some categories for first year students only. Next year Bolen plays to put more kids in these categories so Heritage students have a better chance of doing well.
“I originally wanted to do a travel event, but changed to Principles of Hospitality so I would be competing against other first years,” says Witte.
Witte is the first to qualify for Nationals this decade, after receiving third place at Regionals and fourth at State. Nationals will be held in Nashville, Tennessee in late April, but Zoe has decided not to go.
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