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Romeo students head
to DECA state competition
by CHRIS GRAYA number of Romeo High School students will show they can talk the talk and walk the walk amongst their peers from around Michigan.
Observer Staff Writer
Eight Romeo students will attend the DECA state competition after stellar performances during the district competitions on Jan. 12, where five of them earned medals in their categories.
The state competition will be held in March in Grand Rapids.
DECA is a competition aimed at preparing students for college and careers upon graduating, namely in the categories of marketing, finance, business management and hospitality.
Ronald LeBlanc, marketing teacher at the Romeo Engineering and Technology Center, said it feels great to see the students rewarded during the competition for their hard work, especially since some of them are first-year students.
"The students that put in the effort always advance in districts, and that's a good feeling," he said. "When they put forth the effort they see the results."
DECA competitions have students "role play" in their specific categories. They are given a business scenario that provides a topic to discuss and who they are talking to, such as a CEO, customer or friend. They have 10 minutes to prepare before giving their presentation to judges.
They also take a test before their presentation, and can earn a medal for either based on their scores.
Senior Kayla DeCook and junior Katie Forro attended DECA for the first time. DeCook medaled in apparel and accessories advertising, while Forro medaled in food marketing.
They admitted to being nervous for their first go at DECA, but said the encouragement they received from their peers helped their confidence.
"A lot of it is rolling with the punches and taking everything in stride, because (judges) may ask you a question when you're trying to make a point in your case," DeCook said.
DeCook said she chose fashion because she works at a jewelry store and always found it appealing. Forro said food marketing suited her because she works at a butcher shop and is into agriculture.
"I think both the fields we chose were helpful to whatever we're interested in," Forro said. "I'm just excited to go (to states) and try my best."
Madeline Geffert, a junior, is returning to the state competition for a second time. She competes in marketing management, which means she could be given any topic as opposed to a specific field.
"One day I'm selling umbrellas and the next day I'm talking about a taco stand," she said. "I really like that I can come out of nowhere and I always have to be off the top of my head."
The remaining students, juniors Eric Faulman and Danny Bartolotta, will go to the state level after medaling as a team in the business law and ethics category.
The students said they were excited for the opportunities the competition gives as well, such as networking with professionals or having a nice item to place on their resumes or applications.
LeBlanc said three other students will attend the state competition as a team, as they did well enough at the district that he could bring them forward.
"I have chosen three of those students that I feel deserve to move on and get another shot," LeBlanc said. "They'll be judged on how well they work together."
He said those that do well at the state level will compete at the nationals, and believes if his students prepare for it they will make it.
Regardless of how they do, though, he said he likes that they recognize the opportunities DECA opens for them.
"I've had a number of them come back to me and say `I can't believe how much this helped me when I was in college or got a business interview,'" he said.