DECA competitions go virtual for 2021


Marleny Granados-Diaz

Allie Mascolo (12), Lillian Gomez (12), Gaby Brown (12) and Marleny Granados-Diaz (12) compete in the 2020 DECA competition. Because of COVID-19, 2021 participants will compete in the competitions online.

DECA continues to get students engaged in club activities with their annual competitions. Since the coronavirus is still around, DECA is following health guidelines by making the writing and performance competitions virtual this year. 

The purpose of DECA is to prepare students to improve their communication, leadership and teamwork skills that will help them in life. Students get to interact and compete with peers during meetings to understand how economic skills can be incorporated in different situations. 

“Typically, a DECA practice meeting involves role-playing practice and exam studying,” Nathan Miskell (12) said. “We are paired up with people competing in our same event or industry… [We] practice doing role-plays and practice questions for the cluster exam.”

Since all competitions for the district, state and international levels will be online this year, students will not be able to have the same experience with social interactions, traveling and competing like past DECA competitions. 

“Some activities that you do at the DECA competition are [to go to] the introductory program, the recognition program, and the DECA dance,” Marleny Granados-Diaz (12) said. “All these activities will be different because now we won’t be able to participate at all. What was a three-day process will now be different. Starting with not being able to go to Chattanooga, I think everyone who’s in their first year competing isn’t getting the experience that the rest of us have.” 

Being a participant in DECA has allowed students to pursue their interests and learn more about the skills needed for different careers. For Miskell, who has been in DECA for three years, being in the organization has let him accomplish his goal of learning more about the different careers in finance. 

“I decided to join because finance sparked my interest, and I wanted to pursue it a little more, where I have now been competing in the finance industry for all three years,” Miskell said. 

DECA has not only helped some students at school but outside of it as well. Students can apply the skills learned from DECA in real-world situations. 

“We get to choose our categories that we want to focus on,” Granados-Diaz said. “It helps us expand our knowledge and skills in that category…[and] get a unique scenario.” 

With competing, there comes a lot of challenges of remembering what is right or wrong. Students like Jordyn Forbes (11) enjoy the thrill of remembering correct information for the competition.

“[It] was a little bit of a challenge because when I was competing, it was amazing to realize that I retained a lot more information that I researched than I thought,” Forbes said. 

Although there are lots of methods learned and applied throughout DECA, some students can already notice the difference from competing in the writing and performance parts.  

“[It] makes me feel like a real businessman,” Miskell said. “I feel as if I am making critical decisions within a real company, and it makes the competition even more real.” 

With this atypical year, students are continuing to practice as if it were a regular DECA competition by researching more on their topics and using techniques learned to perfect their performance. DECA has continued to let students expand their knowledge and talent with the skills they have learned. 

“[DECA] has shaped me as a leader to a level that I feel more responsible and like I have a great potential in succeeding,” Granados-Diaz said.