Despite District Cancellation, Karns DECA Still Heads to State Competition


Cindy Rhoden

Karns High DECA poses as a group outside of the classroom where they meet.

Mary Roark, Senior Reporter

Due to Knox County Schools closing, Karns was among a number of schools unable to compete at the DECA District Competitions on Friday, January 31st. Regulations prohibit DECA district competition to occur if the hosting county closes school. Knox County closed schools from Wednesday January 29 to Friday January 31 because of high numbers of student and faculty illness. However, prior testing still allowed many from Karns to title and advance to state competitions.


Karns students were still able to place and qualify for state because of their scores from previously taken tests. DECA analyzes students based on an event specific exam and role-play. The exam is taken on a day prior to actual competition where the role-play occurs. These results are then combined to produce one score that determines who advances to the next round. Because Karns and other DECA students within the county were unable to attend the actual competition and role-play, each member’s exam score was solely used to rank and qualify students for state competition.


While not new to district cancellations because of Knox County’s tendency for sickness and snow, Karns DECA members were still hoping to have the opportunity to role-play and boost their scores. Karns’ DECA advisor Mrs.Rhoden expressed, “My anxiety levels always increase during this time because we never know what is going to happen in the month of January. My students normally perform better on the role plays rather than tests because they can play the part.” Despite these fears, Karns DECA excelled on the exams and over half of the competitors will be advancing to state. New member Abigail Greene shared these emotions and recalled, “I had just bought my suit and was upset that I wasn’t able to wear it at districts. But I was so excited when I found out that my test score was high enough and I would be going to state and have the opportunity to wear my suit and role-play then.” Others like Greene earned qualifying scores but Caroline Cohen and Mary Roark were unique with their first place titles.


DECA is like other career and technical student organizations but specifically “prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe.” Students choose an area of interest to compete in like Entrepreneurship or Food Marketing and take an exam based on the core values of the event and then role-play a related scenario. The role-play allows students to demonstrate their knowledge of the event and their ability to problem solve and use twenty-first century skills. While DECA aids students planning to go into marketing, finance, etc., it also develops students communication and situation analysis skills.


Karns DECA members will be competing again at Tennessee DECA’s state conference in Chattanooga on March 5th-7th. These competitors hope to once again earn a title and advance to international competitions in the late spring hosted in Nashville. Be sure to congratulate Friday’s winners and cheer for them in March.