SYRACUSE — Four Wawasee High School students had to think fast in role playing situations during the state DECA competition in Indianapolis in January. But they were able to do so effectively enough to finish second and third and to qualify for the national DECA competition, more specifically the International Career Development Conference, April 26-29 in Anaheim, Calif.
DECA, previously known as Distributive Education Clubs of America, is a student business and marketing organization. The team of students Nathan Perek and Mason Gray finished second in travel tourism in Indianapolis, while Jared Krugman and Jake Cowan finished third in hospitality and tourism. The four will be joined in Anaheim by student Rosalie Garro, who qualified for the summit leadership skills portion of the national competition. Only 17 students statewide are selected for the summit leadership skills portion.
According to Elizabeth Long, WHS business teacher, Perek and Gray were given a situation of how a children’s storybook garden could be updated and promoted. Krugman and Cowan had to figure out how to bundle play tickets and other attractions into a package deal with a luxury hotel. Each team had approximately 15 to 20 minutes to prepare their presentations and then went before judges.
The four will also be in role playing situations in California and will be given a 100-point test, which will be scored and figured into their final score. In addition to the competition, Wawasee students will attend leadership programs while in California.
It has been about eight years since a Wawasee DECA student qualified for the national competition.
DECA also has a division for college students, Long noted, which her students can join if they go on to college. “This is really a good program and looks very nice on a resume,” she said.