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DECA State Competition

Honoka’a Business Students Win Big
DECA State Competition

Recently the Honokaa High School DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) Club went to the State Career Development Conference (CDC). The purpose of DECA is to  prepare emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management. For the Honokaa chapter we were able to send 10 members to compete in this competition. Our competitors competed in two different categories, Marketing for and Principles of Business Management and Administration. 

Our competitors , club president Zaylee Santana-Ebaniez Grade 12, Brandon Gonzalez,Grade 12,  Achilles Kunishige Grade 12, Maka Agee Grade 11, Brian Jay Abella Grade 11, Marley McIntyre Grade 10, Mackenzie Mizuba Grade 10, Ed Kristian Agustin Grade 9, Soren Lisonbee Grade 9, and Francheska Antoinette Madriaga Grade 9, spent months preparing for this competition. 

DECA members fundraising at Under the Stars Movie Night

Our journey to CDC was not easy. We had to do many fundraising events. We had a food stand at this years Powderpuff football game and a drink stand at the “Under the Stars Movie Night.” At powderpuff we sold hot dogs, cookies, pop corn, and drinks. We quickly sold out of hot dogs and cookies so I began walking the stands selling the rest of the popcorn and water. We sold out just before half time of the first game, however somehow, we lost more money than we earned with this. For our second event we sold only drinks due to the other clubs selling only foods. We sold Gatorade, hot chocolate, coffee, water, and juices. Again with this attempt we lost more than we earned. Finally we found something that worked and earned us a lot of money: “The DECA Mini Store,” where we sold many drinks and snacks throughout the school day. 

Of course we also had to practice for the competition. We practiced every lunch and SLT in order to prepare for CDC. We practiced using role play scenarios and did the written tests of the past few years. Eventually we realized this approach wouldn’t be enough. We started to practice every day during lunch and even had a couple of weekend practices in addition to practicing for the last two days of winter break. We especially cranked up our training during January. 

Finally the day of January 29th came. All competitors met at Kona Airport at 8:30 AM. Our original plan was to meet at the school and to take a bus with other school clubs, FCCLA and HOSA to the airport but that didn’t go through and we all had to find our own way to the airport. Our flight was at 10:30 AM however we arrived two hours early in order to make sure we made it through TSA in time. We landed in Honolulu at about 11 AM.

Once we got our rental car we went on a college visit to Chaminade which was arranged by Ms. Hitsuka. This trip was mandatory to get our transportation paid for. We had got an overview of what the school was like and then DECA, FCCLA, and HOSA split up and each club got a tour from a current Chaminade student in our respective areas of focus. DECA went to the buildings that held the business classes and then got to see the dorms.


For the rest of the 29th we were allowed to rest and walk around the mall as long as we had at least one other person with us. Once we finished hanging out, we met in Mr. Mendoza’s hotel room to collect some papers we needed to fill out and talked about some things to do during our presentations. We then practiced a little bit in our rooms and went to sleep.

Everyone woke up early on the 30th and began to prepare for the competition. We all met in the lobby at 6:30 and began our short walk to the convention center at 7 AM. There we went through a dress check then waited. By the time it was noon everyone had finished their presentations and had lunch so we all headed back to the hotel. Some of us decided to walk around the mall while others remained in their rooms resting.

Then at 1:45 PM we got the news Mackenzie Mizuba had placed in the top six in the Marketing division so we all rushed back to the convention center. We waited for about 2 hours until they announced the finalists for the Principles of Business Management and Administration (PBM) division. At about 3:30 pm we got the news that Soren, Brandon, and Ed had placed in the top six!

We got an early start on the 31st. We left for the convention center at 7:45. The awards ceremony began at 8:00.  We all waited with bated breath to see the results. They first announced the finalists for every division and gave them all a medal. Then the top test scorers were announced in each division. To everyone’s surprise in the PBM division I  placed second. After we got news of the  top three competitors for each category; these  these people would be representing Hawaii at the 2024 International Career Development Conference (ICDC). For the Marketing division Mackenzie placed third. In the PBM division Brandon placed second and Ed placed first.

Once the award ceremony was over we had a celebratory lunch at Gen’s Korean BBQ. Gen’s Korean BBQ is a unique restaurant in which when you order, the meat is delivered to you raw and you cook the meat yourself. Once we finished we again explored the mall one last time.

Now what’s next?  Honokaa DECA chapter is fundraising for our three competitors to go to internationals.  If you’re able, please support us during any fundraising attempts and help our finalists represent Hawaii at the 2024 ICDC on the mainland.

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