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DECA Invitational showcases students, city

Amanda Whitingand Kyle EarlywineSpecial to the Post Independent

If you noticed an unusual number of well-dressed high school students in Glenwood earlier this month, it wasn’t an invasion of alien beings, but rather an invasion of the entrepreneurs of the future: the 20th Annual Glenwood Springs DECA Invitational. On Oct. 5-6, 676 students from the top 26 high school DECA programs in Colorado participated in 15 different individual and team-oriented business contests. DECA is an organization of high school students studying business and entrepreneurship. The competitions put these DECA students in actual business situations in which they must solve actual business problems. These are not memorized events or performances. Students are informed of the problem they must solve 15 minutes prior to the time they must step into the business and deal with the situation. This role play situation takes place in an actual business, dealing with actual employers and customers. The student’s proposed solution is presented to the judge, who assumes the role of the customer, fellow employee or employer, depending upon the nature of the problem. “This type of event, in which one just can’t memorize a group of facts or words, is more like real life and provides us with the opportunity to showcase what we have learned,” said Adam Hansen, a GSHS senior who competed in the Travel and Tourism Team Marketing event. The competition is quite intense, because each of the 26 schools may only enter two people in each of the events. Many of the large schools from the Front Range have a local competition to determine who can come to the Glenwood Invitational. Susan Blood, from Cherry Creek High School, said, “The Glenwood Springs DECA Invitational is a major highlight in our year. The competition is not only difficult, it is a fun place to visit.” According to the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association, the DECA Invitational is one of the largest conventions held in Glenwood each year. Having 676 students, 50 teachers and chaperones staying in hotels, eating in restaurants and shopping in our local business is a great civic service to Glenwood. Fifty local entrepreneurs and businesspersons serve as judges for the two-day competition. “It is an excellent opportunity for both myself and the entire business community to rub elbows with the future entrepreneurs and business leaders. Our economic future is in good hands. I was truly impressed. These students are far more knowledgeable and confident than I was at their age,” said Jerry Scavarda of Scavarda Marketing Group, who served as a judge in the Sports and Entertainment Team Marketing event.Jim Dowling, DECA educator from Wheat Ridge High School, said, “All of us who teach DECA and Marketing Education are jealous of the level of support Bryan Whiting and his DECA students receive from his principal, superintendent and the local business community. It is one of the reasons their program is so effective.”The participating students also enjoyed Glenwood Springs. The students went up on the new tram, toured Glenwood Caverns, swam at the Hot Springs, went to a movie at the Springs Theatre, and received an Invitational T-shirt. GSHS finalists and winnersin the 2003 DECA InvitationalLacey Barnes, 1st , Marketing ManagementAaron Rowland, 1st, Food MarketingAdam Hansen & Jacob Carr, 1st, Travel & Tourism Team MarketingSiam Luu & Kyle Earlywine, 3rd, E Commerce Team MarketingThomas Hays, 3rd, Food MarketingMatt Wilson & Jeff Screen, 4th, Sports & Entertainment Team MarketingMolly Ackerman & Michael Hoban, 5th, Financial Team MarketingAmanda Whiting & Amber Sutherland, 5th, Hospitality Team MarketingRachel Zancanella, 5th, Retail MerchandisingCassie Nemelka, 6th, Apparel and Accessories, Megan Fleming, 6th, Marketing ManagementJeff Burk, 6th, Vehicles & PetroleumAlex Raab & Celeste Cashel, 7th, Travel & Tourism Team MarketingRyan Erickson, 7th, Full Service RestaurantMitch Trebesh & Jesse Lanci, 7th, E Commerce Team MarketingTeam competition results1st, Rampart2nd, Cherry Creek3rd, Pine Creek4th, Glenwood Springs- Amanda Whiting is the GSHS DECA president and Kyle Earlywine is the GSHS DECA communications director.


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