|Pictured are the students of WHS DECA at the 2020 State Competition in Boston|
Typically, the students at Wareham High School that are members of the DECA club travel across the Cape, across the state, and across the country to compete in DECA Career Development Conferences. This special year however, put a wrench in everyones' plans.
This year, students were tasked with competing in a fully virtual format for their events at the District, State, and International level; events that would normally be held in places like Hyannis, Boston, and California. Despite the sadness of almost every DECA member, the competitions went on.
According to their website, "DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, management, finance, and hospitality around the globe". They have over 225,000 members nationally, and offer different events and opportunities for students in high school and college.
Competition for DECA events comprises of two main parts; a role-play and a 100 question exam. The typical competitor would complete the 100 question exam about different aspects of business. Then they would complete two role-plays, where students are given a situation that would happen in a business setting, and they must use what they have learned in the classroom to talk their way through the situation to a judge. The exam is held at the school in advance, and the role-plays are performed face to face, one on one, at the competition with a judge.
In the different model this year, students were given the 100 question exam per usual. But, instead of completing their role-plays in person, they were asked to pre-record their response to the given scenario within a 3 hour time frame, and submit it all online. Normally, students are given only 20 minutes to complete their role-plays.
While you might think that this new 3-hour virtual format is easier for students, Wareham DECA President Chloe Hogan says the opposite. "[at in-person competition] we would normally have 20 minutes to prepare and present our role-plays. I think [competing in person] was easier because you had one chance to get it right and nail it, and didn't have the opportunity to redo over and over and work yourself up over not getting it perfect", Hogan states.
She is also sure to note the technical difficulties that have made virtual competition that much more challenging for students. "Some students are having trouble recording videos, submitting them, and with videos uploading for different reasons", she says.
One student even recorded their whole presentation upside down, and didn't realize until there was not enough time left to change it.
But despite these challenges, the competitors from Wareham have all submitted their presentations, and are expecting to bring home gold from their first round of competition; districts. If they do, they move onto the state level, and then from there, the International Career Development Conference.
To find out more about what DECA or find out how you can support them, you can go to www.deca.org, or go to Wareham DECA's website, www.warehamdeca.com. You can also follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter by searching Wareham DECA.
Article written byIndiana T.