On February 16-18, 2021, Mililani High School’s DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) competed in the 2021 CTSO (Career and Technical Student Organization) competition. This competition, like other events throughout 2020, was held virtually on Webex. The DECA members were given real life scenarios and tested on their knowledge based on their specific category. Annabelle Ink and Kirah Evile won first place for Financial Services and were the trophy winners and national qualifiers.
“We assume the roles of a financial advisor, for example, and give financial advice or try to sell a product (as far as marketing). There are teams and solo categories, with different events (entrepreneurship, financial services, sports & entertainment, etc.). We also have to showcase our knowledge on the financial and accounting equations, while discussing all the performance indicators,” said Vice President of DECA Junior Kirah Evile.
The other trophy winners and national qualifiers from MHS DECA are Sophomore Evelyn Carillo Cobian and Sophomore Zoey Vinoray for Travel & Tourism (2nd place), and Junior Jaime Cortez and Junior Ila Nako for Sports & Entertainment marketing (2nd place). For Entrepreneurship, Sophomore Isaiah Nabea won 1st place for the written exam top score, and Junior Annabelle Ink won 1st place for financial services in the same category. The finalist-medallion winners are Nabea for Retail Merchandising, Junior Aaron Komatsu for Entrepreneurship, Ink and Evile for Financial Services, Carillo-Cobian and Vinoray, Junior Rain Hashimoto and Junior Elise Norris, and Senior Emma Pratt and Junior Ariel Woodman for Travel & Tourism, and Cortez and Nako and Junior Armaan Needles and Junior Ivan Lee for Sports and Entertainment Marketing.
The CTSO competition is where all career and technical pathway clubs gather together and are tested by the judges based on their pathway and the category they choose. For DECA, they are tested in the business pathway, and they can choose whether to complete the task by themselves or with a partner.
Two weeks before the actual event, the students took a written exam. Some students were given a task ahead of time to work on from the CTSO and those students presented their solutions on the competition day. For others, they did not know what their task was until the day of the competition. They were placed into breakout rooms with judges based on their testing category and given thirty minutes to prepare for their task and then fifteen minutes to present their work. To present, they could only use paper, as technological platforms such as Google docs or slides were not allowed. Those who performed the task by themselves stayed in the main room. After all the categories were tested and the judges determined the winners, everyone went back into the main Webex room for an award ceremony.
Before COVID-19, the CTSO competition took place in the Convention Center, and the various clubs would come on the first day to head to their hotels at Ala Moana Center. The second day would be the actual event, where students would compete in their categories and be judged. On the third and final day, there is an award ceremony and those who placed will be able to go to nationals. Students could also participate in various activities hosted by the clubs competing.
“We go and compete, and then there’s other events. We have best speaker sessions and there’s a dance that’s really fun. We all like, all the different clubs host like HOSA, Skills, and DECA. We all meet at this one point, and you can either go to the dance, which is really fun, or watch a movie and play games and stuff,” said Mililani Chapter President and Hawaii state DECA Vice-President Junior Annabelle Ink.
However, since the competition was virtual, the CTSO could not host the same activities that they had in the previous years. As a result, they tried to have icebreakers and other activities for students in the breakout rooms to get to know one another.
“I’m really excited to meet new people and see new faces. Hawaii DECA is trying really hard to connect more with its members this year, so we’ve been prioritizing social events and networking. It’ll be a really good opportunity for us to see each other and connect during the conference, and we’ll have chances to do that through various online activities and events,” Ink said.
Hawaii DECA hopes to help people connect with one another through these events, especially since socialization decreased immensely due to COVID-19.
“I’m looking forward to and what I’m hoping to see is student engagement. Because of the virtual situation, I know some students, a lot of them, are struggling with online classes and being engaged. I’m hoping that with the convention being online, that it’s a different opportunity for them to engage online. It’s just not a class, but they’re going to have different types of activities and it’s supposed to be more interactive, and, you know, amongst your peers,” said Mililani Chapter DECA advisor Janise Kim.
For more information about DECA, visit www.deca.org For more information about CTSO, visit www.ctsos.org