Local high schoolers qualify for state DECA competition

49 students from the Federal Way Public Schools District qualified for the Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) competition, held in March.

Dozens of DECA members high schools in Federal Way program recently placed at the Area 5 Competition, with several qualifying for the state competition.

DECA, which stands for Distributive Education Clubs of America, prepares students to become leaders and future entrepreneurs in business. Development of leadership and business skills is done through academic conferences and competitions, and allows students to gain additional skills such as communication, work ethic and confidence.

In total, 11 students from TBHS qualified for the state competition at the Area 5 competition on Jan. 5 at Hazen High School. The Saturday competition welcomed over 350 students from 20 schools.

Andrew Luu took first place in the Accounting Applications. Vivian Tram and Erin Kwon placed first in Business Law.

Catelynn Jang placed second in Apparel and Accessories Marketing. Julian Denova Morales took third place in Sports and Entertainment Marketing.

Cloydgene Latumbo placed fourth in Food Marketing and Franz Obungen placed fourth in Business Finance.

Kami Ramos placed fifth in Apparel and Accessories Marketing. Martin Tally took sixth in Accounting Applications. Esteban Trujillo and Natalie Lara Lozoya placed sixth in Buying and Merchandising.

From Decatur, 23 DECA students qualified for the state competition.

Jaylah Lara and Ally Phan in Entrepreneurship Team Decision Making and Calista Nolasco in Food Marketing each took first place for the second year in a row.

Bianca Gonzalez took first in Entrepreneurship and Amaya Bakam took first in Sports and Entertainment Marketing.

George Raileanu took second in Entrepreneurship and Rosemond Pratt placed second in Hotel and Lodging Management. Sienna Mayo placed third in Human Resource Management.

Jacy Mendoza placed fifth in Human Resource Management. Ciana Nolasco placed fifth in Restaurant and Food Service Management. Katie Estrada and Estrella Garrido placed fifth in Hospitality Services. Maryn Miller took fifth in Retail Merchandising and Jack Finch took fifth in Automotive Services Marketing.

Taking home sixth place was Micah Lee in Business Finance, Valeria Arrazabal and Britney Flores-Flores in Business Law and Ethics, Lala Harris in Human Resource Management, and Riley Hanson and Tim Lee in Sports & Entertainment Marketing.

Luke Howitt took seventh in Entrepreneurship. Carlos Campos and Erika Nolan also took seventh in Buying and Merchandising.

From Federal Way High School, the six qualified students are Areli Castro, Ella Huff, Ember Fey, Hailey Fey, Felix Mage and nhan Nguyen. Nine students from Thomas Jefferson High School qualified for state including Nathenael Mebrahtom, Nang Thang, Soliyana Berta, Mesrak Nega, Alan Ho, Ngan Doan, Evan Hanemann, Henok Ayalew and Nahom Woldegiyorgis.

DECA helps students gain a deeper understanding of various business fields including business management, administration, hospitality and tourism, entrepreneurship, marketing and finance.

Some of the most popular events give students a scenario and a limited amount of time to brainstorm ideas. After brainstorming, students present their ideas to a judge as if they were in a corporate business meeting.

Todd Beamer DECA was an extremely small club to begin with, said Todd Beamer DECA member Andrew Luu. The pandemic dwindled the club participation numbers even more. At one point, there were only six active members for the 2021-2022 school year.

Around this time, Luu began a campaign to recruit students from Todd Beamer to join the DECA club for the 2022-2023 school year. He put up flyers in the school hallways and classrooms, and presented informational speeches about DECA to various classes.

Because of his efforts, Todd Beamer DECA experienced a 438% member increase for the 2022-2023 school year, Luu said.

The group has hosted monthly fundraisers such as Krispy Kreme, Crumbl Cookie, sports concessions, or apparel fundraisers to make DECA accessible to all members by paying for the competition fees.

Todd Beamer’s DECA program has also volunteered around the community. Members have cleaned up litter and trash at Celebration Park to preserve the greenspace’s beauty and safety. The group members have also provided cookies and popcorn for students and parents at Student Led Conferences, and run the concession stand at several home games during the basketball season.

The DECA state conference takes place March 2-4 in Bellevue.