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DECA state finalists head to international competition

Six students compete at state competition, two finalists emerge

Courtesy+of+Valerie+Cooper.+
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DECA state finalists head to international competition

Courtesy of Valerie Cooper.

Courtesy of Valerie Cooper.

Courtesy of Valerie Cooper.

Courtesy of Valerie Cooper.

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Six Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) students competed in the State Career Development Conference at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel on Feb. 20-22. Out of the chapter, senior president Bradley Sykes and vice president Zachary Morrison placed first in their individual categories.

Morrison was a state finalist in the entrepreneurship series event and Sykes qualified for the International Career Development Conference in Atlanta, Georgia on April 24-25 for the personal financial literacy role play competition.

“Bradley is actually going on to internationals but I was a state finalist,” Morrison said. “It’s not guaranteed that I go to nationals but there’s still a possibility that I can go, so I’m still going to prepare for internationals just the same as I’ve been preparing for state.”

The chapter members prepared for the competition by practicing sample role plays DECA provides and individually studying for the written test in their competing categories. They also brought in former DECA judges and sponsors for feedback and critiques.

“This year I prepared by going to practices on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, after school and in the mornings,” Morrison said. “[My category] entrepreneurship was a new event this year so I had to look into other different case studies and use that to have as a study guide.”

DECA adviser Valerie Cooper is overjoyed for the two students after spending time running a club and prepping for the competitions together.

“It was exciting to see their names on the board,” Cooper said. “I remembered pulling out my phone when they were announcing Bradley’s name and I got so overwhelmed and proud. I just started crying because he worked so hard. And then Zachary, to hear him make it up on the stage, he’s such a good leader for this group and he really put in the time and effort and just seeing him up on stage with a medal around his neck, I was just so proud.”

In the weeks leading up to the international competition, Sykes plans to improve his performance in both the tests and the role play.

“My test scores improved greatly between district and state levels so I’m going to continue to study even more so I can raise those scores even higher,” Sykes said. “I’m also going to do a lot more practice role plays [and] brainstorm more creative ideas for strategies I can use.”

Sykes plans to use this experience and apply the skills he attained for the field he plans to work in.

“I want to pursue a career in finance so it’s really nice to actually succeed in something I’m passionate about,” Sykes said.

Cooper hopes the remaining underclassmen will uphold the legacy of the chapter and its progress.

“Bradley and Zachary were true leaders, I always brag on them and they know how to have a good time but they also know when it’s time to be business,” Cooper said. “So I put them in a room with two underclassmen knowing that they would be the best mentors for the future leaders for DECA to continue next year. Their character, how they speak, how they carry themselves, their ability to communicate their knowledge and mentorship is outstanding.”

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