Arlington High School’s DECA club members recently participated in the regional competition and 27 qualified for the state competition.
“We took 43 students down and 27 are moving on to state,” said Chance Pearson, president of the DECA chapter.
The Jan. 26 competition saw many of the local club members placing highly.
“Just in general we had a good year,” said Pearston. “We had more people compete and just about the same percentage move on, but this year I definitely think we placed higher."
New members of the club also did well in the competition.
“There’s a lot of first-year members who placed high and they’re moving on, so it’s really cool to see the drive from new members,” said Pearston.
There are a variety of different competitions that DECA students compete in, most involving marketing or job skills.
In ‘roleplay’ type competitions students are not given the prompt ahead of time and must respond to the situation they are given.
The skills gained help with a lot, said Pearston.
“You can ace an interview, that’s how I got my job. I’m comfortable and confident,” he said.
Other competitions are based on prepared presentations, which are more skill-based, he said.
“I definitely think over time you can get a whole lot better,” Pearston said.
For this year’s competition Pearston wrote three different papers.
“They’re big papers. One of them was a 10 page-paper that was an integrated marketing campaign for a service,” he said.
In addition, DECA members have to complete a 100-question test and do a 15-minute presentation as part of their projects.
“In my project, I was an advertising agency talking with Brooks Running Shoes. I had to create a whole campaign to market a service, and mine was a training plan,” said Pearston.
His proposal integrated a phone app and a charity partnership with the Muscular Dystrophy Association to promote the shoes.
Pearston said he enjoys the competition because it gives him applicable knowledge.
“You can apply the skills to anything. I hope I can bring my business plan to a loan officer in the future and have it work,” he said. “You get out what you put in with this program.”
The Arlington High School DECA club can now send up to 27 students to the state competition, although Pearston doesn’t think all 27 will plan to go.
“We’re definitely pretty confident. We have a lot of work to do, but we usually go pretty confident. I think we might have some people place this year,” he said. “I hope we can get three or four on the [leader] board, if not more.”