Manchester DECA Sends 17 to States

By Seth Kinker,

The Manchester DECA program has had its best year thus far, with 17 students advancing from the regional level to states on Mar. 8 – 10 at the Cobo Center in Detroit, MI.

DECA is a high school and collegiate program that helps student prepare for a future in marketing, finance, entrepreneurship, and/or hospitality management.

Challenges at events give students a chance to demonstrate knowledge and skills learned in the classroom, with each challenge having a unique focus or specific set of required tasks.

In order to get to states, there is a qualification process similar at each level – an online test at the school before going to compete live in front of a judge with business centered role plays where the students can choose a topic. They compete at a regional level, then a state level, then a national level.

After receiving an in-person score that is combined with an online test score, students with the highest total scores move to the next level. This year out of 21 kids in Leslie Rollins’ DECA Club, 17 are advancing to states, the most she has ever had.

“It’s awesome,” said Rollins, a marketing teacher at Manchester High School and the student advisor of DECA. “I’ve never had that big of a percentage, its usually between 9-12 depending on the year, this is a big deal.”

With only a limited amount of time to prepare for their role play with a judge for their in-person test, weekly meetings of the DECA club consist of them working on the different scenarios the kids are presented with. Rollins has the students focus on performance indicators with only 15 minutes to prepare for a role play test.

Before big competitions, Rollins will bring in other teachers to help prepare the students, going through the motions as if they were at the competition.

Rollins sees the benefit this has for the students in her club and relates it to larger goal.

“It gets the kids ready for the real world,” said Rollins. “Talking to people they don’t know. Job interviewing, you usually don’t know who’s interviewing you. It builds their confidence, teaches them what to wear, DECA has a strict dress code, social etiquette. It’s doing what I think we all should be doing as parents and as a society, preparing our kids for life.”

With many of the students in the club starting in their sophomore years, and now are juniors and seniors, Rollins told The Sun Times that seeing their growth and maturity has been rewarding as a teacher.

“To see so many make it to states, they were so excited,” said Rollins. “We just want to prepare the kids for life, sometimes that’s getting out of the class room, doing something new and meeting new people. Seeing how the world works outside your community,”

Seth Kinker

Reporter/Digital Media for The Sun Times News

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