After over twenty-five students placed at DECA district competition in January, eleven students received awards and three students earned advancing titles at the TN DECA State Conference competition in Chattanooga this past weekend. Karns DECA students spent two nights in Chattanooga and three students came home with DECA Glasses and the opportunity to compete at the DECA International Career Development Conference (ICDC) next month.
Karns DECA members left the high school early Thursday morning on March 5th to begin their two night/three day trip in Chattanooga. The typical Thursday for state competition began by stopping for lunch at the Hamilton Place Mall before arriving at the hotel to change into business professional suits for the opening/welcoming session. Following the opening session, DECA students visited downtown Chattanooga while eagerly anticipating the dance, more commonly known as “The Rave,” at the TN Aquarium. “Since it was my first time at DECA state, so many people kept saying how crazy and fun ‘The Rave’ is,” sophomore Chailyne Vasquez recalls. “I’m so glad I got to experience it because I’ve never been in a setting like that. I loved getting to jump and dance with my friends to all the good music!”
Friday morning started early with actual competition beginning. Students made their way to the Chattanooga Convention Center to compete and “role play” in their suits. Students are given a scenario related to their category/topic and are assessed on their knowledge and problem solving abilities. Some have only one role play while others can have two. Competition starts as early as 8:30 am and can continue into the early afternoon. When DECA competitors finished their portion, they had the freedom of spending the rest of the day in downtown Chattanooga until the Mini-Awards Banquet that night. The Mini-Awards Banquet is a formal dinner with live music and the opportunity to recognize and honor students that performed exceptionally well in either their role play or exam. KHS had nine students brought to the stage who earned one of the top eight scores in their role play or exam. Each student was given a certificate, but only the top three scorers received medals. Seniors Duncan Dillman and Mary Roark were the only students from Karns to earn these medals earning second place and first place in test scores for both. Dillman reacts, “Since this is my first year in DECA, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect when I went to state, so it was super exciting to be called up on stage to receive a medal.” The night ended with a formal dance and more live music.
The morning of Saturday, March 7th marked the end of the TN DECA State Conference. Students headed back to the Chattanooga Convention Center for the Grand Awards Session and the announcement of who would be advancing to compete at the International Career Development Conference (ICDC). KHS once again was recognized on stage with eleven students placing in the top eight of their category state wide. Within these eleven, three students earned top five scores qualifying them to compete at ICDC and awarding them with DECA glasses. DECA glasses are DECA diamond shaped (plastic) plaques to award ICDC qualifiers. Junior Brooke Smith earned fifth place, junior Caleb Foster earned third place, and senior Mary Roark earned first place. Foster shared his excitement stating, “After joining DECA my sophomore year and making state competition, I knew I wanted to make ICDC and I look forward to enjoying it this year with some of my closest friends.”
These three students will be spending April 29th- May 3rd in Nashville competing for another DECA glass and an international title. Karns is proud of all its DECA competitors and those who will be representing the school this spring. Be sure to talk to the KHS DECA advisor, Mrs Rhoden, if you are interested in being involved in these opportunities next year.