DECA students advance to the state level


Photo Courtesy of Allison Schwoeppe

WHS DECA students pose with their awards at the district competition Feb. 6. “It’s really cool to be able to go [to state] and see everybody you’re competing against and all the organizations that they helped,” senior Sophie Hellebusch said. Hellebusch plans to attend the University of Nebraska next year as a business major.

This year, nine DECA students are advancing to the state level in Kansas City on March 24.

DECA is an organization of business and marketing students who participate in community service, professional development and group presentations. WHS seniors Sophie Hellebusch and Allison Montgomery were among the few that placed in the top two scores of their category at their district competition, qualifying them for the state level.

“We had to coordinate fundraisers using marketing skills we learned in class to raise money for the organization,” Hellebusch said. “We did a presentation over our fundraisers and how much we raised and brought it to districts.”

Not only did Hellebusch and her partner Sophie Kortiz place first, but they helped local organization All Abilities Athletics provide first-class athletics for children with special needs.

“It started as a DECA project, but then it became a lot more than that through interacting with the director and families and the kids involved,” Hellebusch said.

DECA has benefited students by inspiring fulfilling community work and providing students with soft skills needed for their future, along with giving students a business and marketing background.

“Students benefit from DECA by participating in community service, professional development and group presentations,” DECA sponsor Kathryn Laurentius said. “DECA students gain important communication skills and job skills.”

Through the skills she learned and the individualized, open-ended curriculum, Montgomery created and presented a hypothetical advertising campaign for the bookstore Neighborhood Reads.

“I had the most competition out of everybody in my class,” Montgomery said. “I was really nervous about that, but I think it pushed me to make my project better. It was really exciting to be called up on stage.”

Montgomery placed second at the district competition and is now looking forward to the experiences and opportunities at the state competition, as well as her future at Missouri State University with a DECA-inspired major in marketing and a minor in advertising. Starting high school wanting to go into the healthcare field, DECA has given Montgomery’s life a different path.

“It [DECA] is probably the most life-changing class I’ve ever taken,” Montgomery said. “I’m thankful to be advancing to the state level.”