Successes and challenges: 2023 DECA state competition


Taylor Relvas

Senior Adison Derbas in the ballroom of the Arizona grand resort. Derbas is presenting her winning written event.

Gathered at the Arizona Grand Resort, hundreds of DECA students across Arizona prepare for the numerous events and competitions that determine their business prowess. Over the course of the three day long marathon, Perry students won a plethora of awards, but not without dealing with a variety of challenges.

To begin with, DECA is an international organization for entrepreneurial students to compete in, advancing through various levels of competition while displaying their knowledge of economics and the business world. Students in any of the marketing classes are automatically a part of the DECA system.

Typically, the DECA state competition runs smoothly.  “Last year we had a new director…and state ran great; everyone got in on time, out on time, awards were done, everything ran on time,” explained Perry DECA director and marketing teacher Rob Lange. 

However, this year there were a number of factors that caused a variety of issues, ranging from delays to difficulties regarding the state officer voting system. junior Taylor Relvas and senior Emma Aeilts experienced firsthand the effects of these problems.

Relvas, hopeful for this year’s competition, dealt with an unexpected loss. Running for state officer, Relvas and others expected for him to secure a position among the officers. Aeilts explained, “We were shocked when he didn’t win, not just because he’s ours but because we thought he did really well out of everyone.” 

As it turns out, the system to vote for state officers was conducted in a way that was confusing. Voting was performed in a way that ranked the candidates based on whether they were selected first, second, third, etc. by the voter. However, this was not disclosed to the voters. As a result, those who were voted first, typically received a position as a state officer “We’re currently contesting results to try and get me on the team,” explained Relvas.

Despite these hardships, DECA students did extraordinarily well in terms of awards. Five students finished first place in their events, seven others finished in the top three, and eight more made it into the finals. “For so many of us to get top three was huge.” explained first place finalist senior Adison Derbas.

While many were and are frustrated with the numerous time management issues regarding the competition, there are a number of people overjoyed by their successes. In the end, 15 people are going to the international competition, and Relvas’ position on the state officer team remains to be seen.