BRADFORD, Pa. This year marked a return to normal for Warren County Career Center DECA students as they got to have their District competition last week in-person at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, as opposed to last year’s virtual event due to COVID-19.
And what a competition it was, as a total of 18 WCCC students competed and 10 qualified for the state competition, competing against students from Bradford, Brookville, DuBois, Ridgway and St. Marys.
Leading the way was Mitchell Rossman, who earned two trophies for Highest Role Play for the District Competition and Highest Overall Score for the District Competition.
“I was a participant in the DECA program in 2019 and in 2021.,” Rossman noted. “In 2019, I placed second in the event of Principles of Hospitality and Tourism. I advanced to the state competition which took place in Hershey (Feb 2020) where I placed 10th out of 40. You must be in the top four to advance to the national level.
“This year I participated in the Hotel and Lodging Management event in which I was able to place first, which allows me to attend the state competition in February. I was also awarded the best role-play and best overall-score out of every event in the competition which I was thrilled to receive.”
Rossman credits teacher Cathie Cummings and the program itself for helping him realize goals both inside and outside the classroom, putting the skills he has developed to great use.
“The program and my teacher have gone a long way to improve many skills that I was lacking in before I joined the Career Center,” Rossman said. “It has boosted my self-confidence, my desire to succeed, and my interest in the field. The Career Center has also allowed me to get a job at the Hampton Inn in North Warren through the TANF program. Currently, I work at the front desk four days a week.”
Rossman will join nine other classmates at the state competition Feb. 16-18 in Hershey.
Competitors were given a 100-question multiple-choice test, followed by role-play, where they are given a scenario to a real-world situation in their marketing or business event and have to find a solution and present the solution to a judge.
The top two in both individual and team events advanced to Hershey.
Macey Eyler, in her third year competing, finished first in Automotive Sales Marketing, while Kendra Chase and Paige Dexter, who are both in their second year, finished first in the Entrepreneurship TEAM event. Chase and Dexter also qualified for states last year.
Also advancing from the WCCC were: Christian Green (Marketing Communications, first place), Caidence Braley and Kaylee Lundmark (Travel and Tourism TEAM, second place), Peyton Gazdak (Restaurant and Food Service Management, second place), Jacey Reagle (Entrepreneurship, second place) and Sarah Tome (Apparel and Accessories Marketing, second place).
The group was assisted by Tim Holter of Prudential and John Papalia of the Warren County Chamber of Business and Industry, who served as practice role-play judges to help the students prepare for districts.
“We really appreciate the time and expertise that Tim and John gave to our students to help them prepare for the district competition,” Cummings said.