DECA is a club for students interested in marketing, management and entrepreneurship. The official national organization was formed in 1947 in Memphis, Tenn. At the college level, it is known as Delta Epsilon Chi. Trigg County has had a chapter for quite some time, but the students have arguably never been more enthusiastic about it than they are now. This is thanks mostly to Lori Wooton, who is in her third year of teaching business and marketing, her students say.
“Mrs. Wooton is nice and she’s an inspiration,” said Kayla Joiner. “She’s not too strict. She’s laid-back and really cool.”
“Mrs. Wooton gets you excited about everything,” said senior Sarah Galloway, the TCHS DECA president.
Galloway said that when she joined DECA her sophomore year, she didn’t really know what to expect. Before she knew it, she had placed second in the regional competition by taking a test in marketing management, in which she had to come up with solutions in dealing with employee problems and workplace situations. Last year, she was vice-president and she went to the national competition in Dallas with current vice-president Hayla Frye and Mitch Turner, who graduated last year.
Wooton said that the first year she acted as DECA advisor, some qualified for nationals, but didn’t make the trip. Last year, though, she and the three students went and immediately got into the competitive spirit with the 850 other DECA members from around the country.
“Once you’re there, you understand what it means to be on that stage,” Wooton said.
At the competitions, students answer multiple-choice questions and also role-play. They are given a hypothetical situation and they must tell the judges how they would deal with it. The students take the competitions very seriously. Before the state competition, which was on March 11, 12 and 13 this year, students answered sample questions and solved managed different scenarios for about an hour and a half every day after school for two weeks, Wooton said.
“Most kids look at clubs as paying your dues and not really doing anything, but DECA competes a lot,” she said.
Six students qualified for nationals at the state competition this year. Michael Holloway placed second in food marketing management; Hayla Frye placed first in accounting applications; Jeremiah Swaw placed first in automotive services marketing; Kanisha Frye and Cady Gresham placed second in hospitality services, management team.
Kanisha Frye and Gresham have been friends since eighth grade, and it shows. While they enthusiastically talked about what DECA means to them last week, they practically finished each other’s sentences. They said their closeness has helped them compete as a team very well. Both of them are freshman and said that they joined because Kanisha’s sister, Hayla, encouraged them.
For the rest of this story, read this week's Cadiz Record.