Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) is a program offered through the marketing classes that gives students the necessary skills to pursue careers in business. The organization offers students a choice of competitions in marketing, finance, hospitality and management.
In a regular DECA competition, students take a 100-question test and present a roleplay in front of a judge, either alone or with a partner. The roleplay is related to the area of business the student chooses. They are given a real life problem that they must creatively solve.
There are typically four DECA competitions throughout the school year, plus state. Anyone can qualify to go to state, a three day event that occurs the second week of March at the Overland Park Marriott Hotel. Those who place in the top three for their area get the chance to go to the international competition, which will be held in Nashville this year.
Marketing teacher Mercedes Rasmussen has run DECA at East for 21 years. The program became available for East students in 1995 and has grown ever since the DECA Leadership Conference in New York was introduced in 2000. The annual trip is only available to Marketing Research students, and they get the chance to sightsee while touring large, successful companies.
“I think the key has been to build a program that students and parents see as relevant,” Rasmussen said. “From that point you build relationships and, with any good business, word of mouth makes your business [class] grow.”
Although DECA is not required for Marketing 1 students, the program is mandatory for the Marketing Research classes. Currently, these students are preparing for the state competition in March. Throughout the whole first semester, students worked on a business operations research paper, and in the time remaining until state, students will be working on trifolds to present their information to judges.