Four DECA team members qualify for nationals

Two-year-old DECA program has 11 members place at state out of 800 participants

Kate Ocker, JAG student life editor

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DECA took 14 students, 11 of whom placed, to state at the Marriott in Overland Park from Sunday, March 6, through Tuesday, March 8. Out of 800 students competing in the state tournament, seniors Megan Feuerborn, Sid Jambunathan and Nadia Suhail and junior Ethan Hansen qualified for state by placing third or higher.

The 14 students who competed at state took a test administered by DECA adviser Dianna Heffernon-Meyers to qualify for the competition.

Unlike other competitions, state requires individuals to complete two role-play scenarios instead of one, along with one test. This worked to junior Ethan Hansen’s advantage, allowing him to place second in personal financial literacy.

“I think my strength is articulating ideas from the role-play and talking to the judges; that is the professional aspect of me,” Hansen said.

Junior Lauren Atchley, who also competed at state, said she is especially thankful for DECA adviser Dianna Heffernon-Meyers’ coaching skills. DECA has only been a program for two years.

“Mrs. Heffernon is the one that has coached us and told us what we need to be working on,” Atchley said. “She is the whole reason this program is even a thing here at Mill Valley, which is awesome.”

As a first year DECA member, Hansen said he was pleasantly surprised to learn that his team had done so well, considering its inexperience.

“I was pretty shocked because I got third in the first role-play and I didn’t place at all in the [second role play],” Hansen said. “I am never confident — I set my standards lower, so, if I don’t place, I won’t be let down.”

Atchley said despite the fact that DECA is an individual competition, support from her team members helped her place sixth in apparel and accessories marketing

“The other kids in the class, we all push each other. A lot of us share the same division. There were four kids in my division that were from Mill Valley, so we all worked together,” Atchley said. “It’s a really positive environment.”

DECA will compete at nationals in Nashville, Tennessee, from Saturday, April 23, through Tuesday, April 26.

Also placing were:

senior Danielle Holt: eighth in apparel and accessories marketing

junior Jacob Coacher: eighth in automotive services marketing

Suhail: third in business finance

Feuerborn: first in human resources management

senior Madison Remijio: fourth in human resources management

Jambunathan: first in sports and entertainment marketing

senior Ben Gillig: fourth in sports and entertainment marketing

senior Derek Meeks: sixth in sports and entertainment marketing

senior Hawkeye Mitchell: ninth in personal financial literacy

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