Competition and Collaboration
On December 4, 2019, Apex High’s DECA chapter loaded up five buses to go downtown to the Raleigh Convention Center. The 253 students who went to the District 3 Marketing Competitive Events Conference, also known as Districts, competed in events known as roleplays. During the roleplays, students are given a prompt, a set amount of time to prepare, and then a timed interview with a judge. Various categories center around different topics and specialties including sports management, retail merchandising, and hospitality. The interviews are laid out so that the judge and participant assume the role of individuals in or at a company, and then the participant solves a problem outlined in the prompt. Prior to going to Districts, all students completed a one-hundred question exam that asked technical questions relating to the category of the roleplay.
Following the completion of the roleplay, judges then score the participant. This score is multiplied by two and then added to the exam score. This total score is how winners for roleplays were determined. The winners were awarded medals and trophies at the end of the day. Apex DECA had forty-seven medalists and nine trophy winners! We are so proud of all of the Apex DECA members that competed!
In addition to the ever-important competition aspect of the conference, it is the ability to network that makes experiences like this so important for young adults as they prepare to enter the workforce. Many people view DECA with various preconceived notions. Some think it is just a way for students to skip school and hang out with their friends. These views are far from the truth, however. DECA offers students the ability to practice not only business-related skills but also soft skills that will be needed regardless of profession or industry. Everyone needs to know how to appropriately greet someone, how to dress in business professional attire, and how to compose oneself in an interview.
DECA can be expensive. National dues, entry costs for Districts, and travel costs for States quickly add up. Apex DECA wants to work with every individual to ensure that those who want to participate can, but sometimes these factors pose formidable barriers. Just because someone is not in DECA—regardless of the reason—doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have the opportunity to practice these vital soft skills. Another club at the school, FBLA, can offer the ability to practice. Non-members are invited to attend DECA meetings and workshops, as well, to practice. Non-club ways to practice would include taking internship opportunities, going on as many interviews as possible (even if you think you won’t accept a job offer), participating in school/community fairs, and attending community events. Many local organizations such as Women-in-Bio and Dress for Success are two that offer frequent workshops that students can participate in to meet professionals and practice real-world skills.
Regardless of whether or not a student places in the top ten and receives recognition at Districts, they will be learning valuable skills that they will use for the rest of their life. Apex High School is proud to support organizations like DECA that offer real-world growth and preparation for students. We hope that all of our students will go on to do amazing things beyond high school, and we are thrilled to stand by every opportunity that can direct our students towards the steps for success.