Teenagers clad in business attire invaded Spokane Community College on Monday to vie for a spot in the state DECA competition.
As individuals and in pairs, the students competed in events involving marketing, management, problem solving and accounting challenges that included specialty areas such as automotive, sports and entertainment, fashion, and travel and tourism.
Ashton Boothroy offered his team’s challenge as an example of a situation the students are given. “Ours was cool,” said the Mt. Spokane High School senior. “We had to try to gain sponsorship of Cadillac while promoting PGA.”
The slogan he and his partner came up with: “Every one needs a Caddy.”
More than 700 high school students participated in the annual DECA conference – the most in its history, said Dave Whitehead, a DECA coach at Mt. Spokane.
The top nine finishers in each event advance to the state competition in March.
A couple other situations students were challenged with were a local tire company selling their product to a national chain, and a new way for controlling inventory and supplies for an online retro sports company.
To be involved in Distributive Education Clubs of America, commonly known as DECA, students are required to take a marketing class where they learn job skills such as selling, promoting, advertising and appropriate appearance.
“It’s an opportunity for the kids to act like grown-ups,” Whitehead said.
The competition judges are volunteers, including accountants, construction company employees, real estate agents and gas station owners.
Adam Daniel, a Mead High School marketing teacher, said the judges are looking for knowledge of the subject, the quality of a handshake, how the students carry themselves – “things you basically look for in a job interview.”
DECA draws a wide variety of students. “Every type of kid is a DECA kid,” Whitehead said.
Molly Brown, a Mt. Spokane senior, joined this year. “DECA has a good reputation at Mt. Spokane. Every one has fun doing it.”
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