DECA Jenks: Fast Track to Being a Billionaire

By Izzy Pankey

As the great bard of our generation once said, “I wanna be a billionaire so… bad. Buy all of the things I never had.” DECA students have listened to those words carefully and are on the fast track to becoming billionaires. Most students think it is just a club at Jenks for volunteering and cute t-shirts, but the opportunities the club actually gives you are endless.

DECA prepares emerging leaders and gives them experience in marketing, finance, management, and hospitality. The club gives students the opportunity to create their own business, work on ideas they have for other businesses, and practice real life business skills.

Students who choose to compete, spend a whole semester working on their project and building their chosen product or business. The project includes everything from an in-depth description of their product/business to a complete budget plan. Once the projects are completed, students put on their blue DECA blazers and take their projects to state competition where they compete against all of the other club chapters in the state. If students do well, they go on to nationals in Orlando, Florida, where they compete against everyone in the nation and even some students from other countries.

“It’s a bunch of different people,” says Emma Weatherly (12), “it’s a really cool experience.”

We sat down with some students competing this year about their projects, their experience with DECA, and if they plan on using the skills they have learned from competing in real life

Advanced Fashion Business Management Project – Kennedy Maybee (12) and Emma Weatherly (12)

Weatherly and Maybee chose to do their project on H&M in New York. They create and plan different activities and promotions for H&M. They planned a clothing drive where people can bring in gently used clothing and all of the clothes brought in will be donated to local organizations in New York. They also planned a winter bag design contest where customers can enter and those who win get H&M gift cards and first pick on the company’s new fashion line.

The girls have both been to DECA Nationals and said the experience was amazing. “When you go in you have these assigned seats in this big arena.” Maybee says.   “It’s cool to see people from all different countries. Every year they have some type of theme. Last year the theme was to wear a hat from wherever you’re from.” Maybee said that it was cool to be able to see where everyone was from. All the Canadians wore the same thing. You could always tell who was from Florida, and people from Wisconsin wore fun cheese hats!

They talked about how the competition itself is a few days long because there are so many people. Before they went in to actually compete, everyone sat in a big room just sitting on the floor going over their projects again and again so they can perfect it before going in. They said it was actually kind of scary cause you have to be super professional but also not bore the judges.

Startup Business- Reagan Miller (11)

Miller created a bracelet that detects water motion. The bracelet is for kids, to prevent drownings.

“I came up with the idea,” Miller said, “‘cause I was in a near drowning.”

She has been to the state competition before and says the experience is super fun. Miller said she was obviously nervous in the beginning, but in the end she has a really fun experience and is excited to do it again.

Miller plans to use all of the skills she has learned in DECA even after she graduates, she says that all of the marketing and business skills are very helpful.

Franchise Event – Gracee Fine (11), and Avery Gudgel (11)

Fine and Gudgel put together a Franchise for their project this year. They pick a company that is already a thing and create a plan to open one in a location of their choosing.

”We did the Impeccable Pig Boutique,” Gudgel said, “Which is in Nashville already, Texas, it’s really popular in the Texas area, and Oklahoma City. They don’t have one in Tulsa so we’re opening one off the 91st and Yale Shopping center.”

They chose to a franchise because it is one of the hardest events and they wanted to challenge themselves. This is their first year competing at state after being in the club for two years, and they wanted to branch outside of their comfort zone and get the experience of the competition.

Gudgel says that she for sure thinks that these skills learned from the competition and the club itself give you skills you can use for the rest of your life.

Do you want to get yourself on the fast track to being a billionaire and prepare yourself for working in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management? If you’re already in DECA, talk to Mrs. Glidden in room #6154 or Ms. Wright in room #6156. If you’re not in the club, membership is closed for the year, but look for the table at enrollment to make sure you can join next year.

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