DuBOIS, Pa. — For the second consecutive year, Penn State DuBois recently welcomed high school students from across District 1 of Pennsylvania DECA for their annual conference. Students competed for the chance to move on to the state level in February in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Over 130 students from Brockway, DuBois, Ridgway, Smethport, St. Marys and the Warren County Career Center all had representatives who came to the campus ready and excited for the event.
Competing individually or in a team of two, students are given a role play on a specific topic and a shot time to prepare a presentation on that topic. Then, each student or pair gives their presentation to a judge, who then asks questions on the topic and presentation. Roleplay scenarios include topics in marketing, finance, hospitality, management and more. Judges score each presentation, and that score is averaged with the score a student receives from a 100 question multiple choice test that each of them completes prior to the conference to give each student their final score.
“With smaller schools (in our district), we don’t necessarily have as highly developed marketing, finance or hospitality programs as some bigger city schools,” said Madigan McGrath, Ridgway student and District 1 representative for Pennsylvania DECA. “It’s important for us to have extracurriculars like this so that people in our areas understand marketing, hospitality and the business world so that they can function in the real world.”
While attending the conference, each student received a tour and experienced the capabilities of the Idea Lab, part of the North Cental PA LaunchBox powered by Penn State DuBois. Johnny Williams, engineering technologist, led students in seeing firsthand the lab’s capabilities with 3D printing, engraving, augmented reality and virtual reality.
After the competition was complete, everyone gathered in the gymnasium at the PAW Center for the awards ceremony. Students receiving the two highest scores in each role play category received medals and will advance to the state level competition. Glass trophies were given to those students who scored highest in roleplay, the written test and overall.
DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management while they are students in high school. DECA has 12 districts in Pennsylvania that has more than 4,700 members in over 80 chapters across the commonwealth.