By Geoff Swenson
by Geoff Swenson
The Havre Daily News
Friday, May 7
Last week, I had the privilege of attending the DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) national competition. I am greatly indebted to the Havre High School Student Congress and Booster club for providing financial aid that made the trip feasible. It was an incredible experience. DECA is a national organization of marketing students. In order to qualify as a competitor at nationals, an individual had to place either first or second in his or her event at state. In all, over 13,000 delegates from all 50 states, Canada, and Guam were in attendance.
The event, in which I competed, Business Services Marketing, had over 160 competitors. Given the large number of event participants, I was very gratified that I was able to place in the top 16 as a finalist. The event was a great experience. The national DECA committee brought in experts in all the different events, so the judges were all well qualified. I learned a vast amount from the format of the national competition. At the state level, we had months to prepare for our event, however, at nationals we had only ten minutes to prepare our presentations to the judge. This provided for totally fairness and was an excellent test of an individuals ability to think quickly, rationally, and effectively about business related situations.
While I learned a lot from the competition, I gained even more from interacting with the people. In the beginning, I had absolutely no idea what to expect from my fellow participants. However, as I talked to them, I found them to be quite a diverse group, with almost every individual having something unique to offer. Even though the DECA national competition lasted only a short period of time, I was able to establish some lasting friendships. In short, DECA nationals was a great experience and I would definitely encourage anyone with an interest in business related fields to get involved with the local DECA program.