Of the 101 members in Alexandria Area High School’s DECA chapter, 93 students competed in the virtual state conference last week. Around a third of them will advance to the international competition in April.

Alexandria students beat four of the school’s previous records with seven first place trophies, four second place trophies, 17 total trophies and 32 international qualifying projects.

Senior student Taylor Nelson said she along with classmates Sophie Anderson and Ethan Johnson are looking forward to presenting at the international competition, as they took first place with their Business Services Operations Research project.

“Winning first place was extremely exciting for all of us,” Nelson said. “It was very rewarding to see all of our hard work pay off.”

Since they wrote the paper accompanying the presentation earlier this winter, Nelson said they will need to update some of the content because of fluctuating COVID-19 guidelines.

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In shifting DECA competitions to an online format this year, students first filmed and uploaded their presentations February 28. Then, state finalists were asked to submit their original recordings and papers March 8. Students found out if they would advance to the international competition at the award ceremony March 14.

The international conference will also be held virtually, but those who make it to the final round will present live for a judge.

“While we would have preferred a face-to-face competition, students developed real-world skills in the adapting workplace,” said Eric Hartmann, Alexandria Area High School business and DECA teacher. “As advisors, we are proud of the resiliency and commitment demonstrated by students during this challenging year.”

The Alexandria students who are presenting their projects at the international contest along with their state rankings are as follows:

  • Retail Merchandising - Zach Kent - 1st Place

  • Buying and Merchandising - Dylan Nelson and Ethan Johnson - 3rd Place

  • Marketing Management - Gabriella Staples and Sonja Schabel - 2nd Place

  • Travel and Tourism - Wyatt Odland and Myles Sansted - 2nd Place

  • Business Services Operations Research - Zach Kent, Caleb Wendel, Kennedy Montgomery - 3rd Place

  • Business Services Operations Research - Sophie Anderson, Ethan Johnson, Taylor Nelson - 1st Place

  • Finance Operation Research - Neko Glaser, Isaac Kershaw, Lucas Skarpness - 2nd Place

  • Finance Operation Research - Kennedy Montgomery, Hunter Hastings, Connor Schultz - 1st Place

  • Sports and Entertainment Operations Research - Sydney Larson, Dylan Nelson, Aaron Safarik - 1st Place

  • Business Solutions Project - Wyatt Odland, Myles Sansted, Payton Olson - 1st Place

  • Career Development - Kelsey Fletcher, Hailie Kent, Brennan Lattimer - 1st Place

  • Community Awareness - Tyler Bright, Hattie Galloway, Colin Reilly - 4th Place

  • Community Giving - Ben Borden, Lilly Thul, Erik Hedstrom - 1st Place

  • Financial Literacy Project - Caleb Wendel, Avery Hagstrom, Josie Steidl - 1st Place

  • Sales Project - Erika Zick, Aisling O’Connor, Peter Sansted - 2nd Place