Thursday, April 25, 2024

Granbury High School DECA chapter makes a name for itself at state competition

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The DECA chapter at Granbury High School competed in the state championship Feb. 15-17 with 16 students qualifying for the competition, the highest number GHS has taken. This was also the first year the chapter had both freshmen and sophomores compete.

Two GHS teams “made stage” at the Grand Awards session. They were among the 20 top-scoring teams or individuals called to the stage in each event category before the top 10 teams were announced. The top 10 teams will advance as finalists representing Texas at the International competition. The two GHS teams ranked in the top 20 competitors in the state, beating out teams at both the district and state levels. Both teams will serve as alternates to the advancing finalists.

The first team, made up of The Anchor Store crew members, competed in the Project Management Sales Project event. The event is specific to how each DECA chapter raises funds for competition and chapter events. For the Granbury chapter, The Anchor Store is the only entity that sells snacks, drinks and apparel in the on-campus store. Team members competed using the business plan they created for the store in August. They reported on the profits, operations and project management skills necessary to run the store, and how those profits are budgeted for DECA. Competing on this team were seniors Braeden Hunt, Austin Pruett and Kylee Upchurch. This was the third year in a row GHS has “made stage” in this event.

The Franchise Business Plan event revolves around a team researching a particular franchise business, collecting finance data, and then presenting an operations plan to open a location. Team members Maddie Cutler, Ryli Lewis and Anna Quinn researched the business “Drybar,” pulling franchise investment data and applying it to their location of interest in Lubbock. In their research, they interviewed managers from the Fort Worth location to collect proprietary information, which helped them gain an edge in their presentation. This was the first time GHS had competed in the event.

Both teams had to write a 20-page paper about their business plan that had to be turned in for judging prior to competition. At the event, they presented to a different judge. Scores were combined from both judges for a final score.

“In our first year of competition, I coined the term “Pirate Swagger,” which has become our motto. We really didn’t know what we were doing — I literally winged it from registration, helping kids pick competition events, and even showing up that day to compete,” chapter advisor Kylee Peterson said. “I told the students that in the business world, most people do not have a clue of what’s going on when they walk into situations and places. But if you walk in with a little swagger, they will never catch on that you don’t know what you’re doing. So we called it our “Pirate Swagger” and it just stuck. Granbury walks with a confidence and sense of professionalism like no other chapter that just stands out and it’s working so far.”

In 2023, The Anchor Store at Granbury High School earned its gold-level certification as a School Based Enterprise (SBE) from the national DECA office, which is good for five years. The certification is earned by submitting a written 50-page paper covering topics like finance, human resources and promotion that are applied to a student-led enterprise. Students must also submit documentation detailing whether they are a food or retail-based enterprise — The Anchor Store is a food-based enterprise with over 80% of the products sold being snacks and drinks. Each year, The Anchor must re-submit an updated, detailed financial report to keep its certification in good standing.

At the international competition, two crew members from the store will attend a special SBE networking session and then compete against other SBEs in the food operations category. They will present on operations and finance of the store to earn their spot as of the top SBEs in the nation.

DECA offers active chapter members seats at four various academies hosted during the competition. Students are invited to attend these three-day conferences to work on leadership, networking and personal branding skills. Chapters earn the seats by completing challenges set forth by the national office in areas such as growing membership, promoting the chapter in the community, and completing community service campaigns. Granbury earned six potential seats and is awaiting invitations of acceptance to the academies.

GHS also earned its first-ever Century Chapter recognition, turning in a final roster count of more than 100 members. When the chapter first began, it had 16 members.

Peterson reflected on some of her favorite moments from competition and shared what she loves the most, “At state, I get the opportunity to walk some of the competitors to their event and then wait for them to walk out of their presentations. When they turn that corner and I see that smile going ear-to-ear feeling confident about their performance, it’s one of the most favorite things about my job. That confidence they exude is priceless. I also love seeing how the chapter comes together especially during state. You don’t always know each other or have classes together, but the time spent together creates a small family,” Peterson shared.