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Junior Sebastian Bagoon prepares for DECA States competition on Feb. 15. After school, Bagoon practiced his roleplay for upcoming DECA states competition in Orlando, Florida.

DECA holds prep nights at MSD to prepare for state competition

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s DECA is preparing for their state competition, the Florida Career Development Conference; they have been preparing since Saturday, Feb. 10 and will continue to prepare until Thursday, Feb. 29.

The event takes place from Thursday, Feb. 29 to Sunday, March 3. Members prepare for the competition that takes place in Orlando; if they qualify with the combined score of a test and the member’s presentation, they will proceed to move on to the International Career Development Conference, which is being held in Anaheim, California this year.

DECA students first began preparing for states in late August 2023 to qualify for the state competition. Students took practice tests, completed papers and prepared presentations. The qualifiers that are going to states take in either a test or make a roleplay or a paper and presentation to compete at states in their respective category.

DECA members that qualified for states were required to go to at least two practice days. The practices were held after school on Jan. 25, Jan. 30, Feb. 6, Feb. 15 and Feb. 27 from 2:45 to 4 p.m. in advisors Lisa Webster and Sharon Cutler’s rooms.

Competitors who planned to attend were also required to attend at least one prep night held, which were held in the Media Center from 6-7:30 p.m. on Feb. 12, Feb. 20, and Feb. 22. Community members, either it be parents or business partners, were asked to sign up as judges to help competitors prepare for their presentations.

“DECA prep nights are one of the most important things to do that prepares us for success in the presentation,” senior Daniel Miranda said. “In a single presentation of the prep night it allows us to progress exponentially.”

Before going up to the judges at the prep night, students were able to converse with their partners and friends about their presentation and practice in front of their peers. There were two rounds of judging with time in between for presenters to prepare.

“DECA practice nights are very beneficial to help us be better prepared for our competitions,” junior Lindsey Robinson said. “All of us are very determined to make it to Los Angeles so practicing helps us get one step closer.”

Once called up, the competitors were able to practice these categories in front of a practice judge, and would later receive feedback from that judge during practice nights. The judges mostly consisted of family members, business partners and Parkland Chamber of Commerce.

Before going up to the judges, students were able to converse with their partners and friends about their presentation and practice in front of their peers. They were also able to review notes regarding their presentations or role-plays from their judges.
“Although DECA prep nights give me a lot of pressure, it’s super helpful and gives me the feedback I need to make it to nationals,” senior Karen Liu said.
Besides preparing for states, the intensity continues for those who win glass, or place, at the Florida DECA state competition, as the winners are able to move onto the DECA International Career Development Conference competition.
“My sister and I created an Integrated Marketing Campaign for Oreo cookies,” junior Nicole Robinson said. “Last year, we made ICDC for our campaign on Reddi Whip, so we are hoping to do just as good.”
This year, like every year, MSD’s DECA have been preparing through the past months. Students have spent countless days creating, managing, practicing, performing and participating in various tasks all to be better prepared for states. As DECA competitors continue to refine their category objectives throughout the time before states, they hope to see themselves at ICDC this coming spring in Anaheim, California.

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About the Contributors
Morgan Stott, Reporter
Morgan Stott is a freshman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. She enjoys going to the beach, reading and hanging out with her friends.
Reygan McIntosh, Reporter
Reygan McIntosh is a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. He enjoys music, photography and fashion.
Emily Haas, Reporter
Emily Haas is a freshman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. She enjoys taking photos, playing with her dog and listening to music.  
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