DECA State Qualifiers

By: Todd Martin
New to the business-centered DECA organization, the pair of Career Center seniors was just happy to get some experience in competing among their regional peers.

Andrea Ramirez and Adryana Rodriguez listened to the announcement of top finishers at the Region 5 DECA competition and somehow missed their names.

“We didn’t know at first,” said Ramirez. “A friend said ‘you made it,’” she recalled. “I didn’t believe it.”

It’s true. The two seniors, both new to DECA this year, are headed to the organization’s state finals in Dallas Feb. 20.

“We were very excited,” said Rodriguez. “We thought others would do better.”

At the region event and again at state, the pair will work together to respond to a case study. They will have 30 minutes to prepare and then present their recommendations to a judge.

Career Center marketing teacher Lorre Swanson praised her students’ efforts, pointing out the DECA chapter is new to the school. She took 13 students to the regional event.

“I tell them ‘we’re pioneering this together,’” she said. “It was a small group that went to competition. They have set a base and they are going to make great things happen.”

In the recent competition, the scenario featured a bank that was receiving negative customer reviews.

One idea Ramirez said the judges liked, was her suggestion that the bank work to be the backbone of its community, finding ways to serve people.

“The bank was struggling with their customer service,” Rodriguez explained, “ and we were managers giving ideas about how to improve.”

At the KISD Career Center, Rodriguez takes mainly health courses. She plans to enter the medical field as a nurse and eventually become a physician. Ramirez takes business related courses and plans to pursue that field.

Once again, Ramirez and Rodriguez enter a competition excited to participate, but not expecting to win.

“I think we will always be nervous to compete, but it felt really good to make it,” Ramirez said. “I think it prepares you to be able to speak out and express your ideas.”

“We didn’t know what to expect,” Rodriguez said. “It gave us some good feedback on how to be better workers.”

“They did great,” Swanson said of her students. “It was invigorating as a teacher to see their response to competing. They were on fire. They are great students and they are dedicated to their learning.”