DECA Returns to State For the First Time Since the 2018-19 School Year

PNH marketing students travel to Kansas City, MO to compete at State in their first year since COVID-19


Photo by Katie Parks. Amirah Gumbs, Immanuel Lewis, Ava Maier, and Katie Parks with their coach Russell Vincent. The Vikings enjoyed their time together during the 2 day business trip in Kansas City, Mo.

Rico Struckhoff

Four PNH seniors, Immanuel Lewis, Ava Maier, Katie Parks, and Amirah Gumbs packed their business knowledge and skills to Kansas City Sunday, March 12, to compete in the Missouri DECA State Competition.

The Distributive Education Club of America (DECA) encourages students to develop marketing, business and leadership skills through academic conferences and competitions across the nation.

“We thought it was funny that the competition was really only 30 minutes of the entire trip,” Parks said. “I’d go back if given the chance. It was really fun.”

Compared to other schools participating, the Vikings were one of the smallest teams within the competition with only four contestants and one coach.

“I didn’t mind [having a small group] at all because it felt like we were more of a team,” Lewis said. “Although, it would have been fun to have more people like the other schools to try to compete against each other as well.”

Others felt like having a small group was a bit more frightening.

“It was very nerve-racking, I was very scared,” Gumbs said. “There were just a lot of people in our category, and just seeing them write down their ideas I was like ‘Oh, I hope our ideas are better than theirs’.”

The Vikings were coached by business teacher Russell Vincent. Similarly to the competitors, Vincent experienced this event for the first time in his four years of teaching marketing.

“I really enjoyed [the competition],” Vincent said. “Getting to know the students – especially these students since they’re such a good group – in a different way than just the classroom was really fun.”

This isn’t the last time Vincent plans on participating in a DECA competition. In fact, he is already thinking about how he can improve the experience for next year.

“I’ll be much more prepared to help our students and participants whether it’s what the process is like or what content is on the test,” Vincent said. “Even just navigating the first night of dinner, even though I think we did a good job.”

Business trips don’t always have to be strictly professional. Although none of the contestants placed high enough to move on to the national competition, they were rewarded with a puppy petting surprise from an animal shelter nearby the competition.

After mornings of Panera breakfast, pizza lunches, and ice cream desserts the Vikings came back to school the next day.

“I liked [the trip]. It registered in my head that Tuesday that we would be going back to school tomorrow; it sucked,” Lewis said.

In the past couple of years, Parkway North hasn’t participated in DECA due to COVID-19. The option was always at hand, but with everything being virtual, Vincent decided it was “a better decision not to.”

Students who are interested in competing in DECA competitions while at North only have to enroll in marketing class and maintain good grades throughout the semester. Students who signed up for Marketing aren’t only limited to DECA sponsored competitions. They will also be given the opportunity to go on a school trip to New York in the 2023-24 school year.