How Liberty plans to DECAmate the competition at State

Raquel Rossi, Staff Writer

The goal is always to Destroy Every Competitor Around. But how? DECA teacher Chris Gapinski prepares students to excel at the Washington State competition every year by getting competitors polished and ready to compete.
“Liberty DECA hosts a mock state competition every year in order to get the students to prepare to succeed. There, we have parent judges come in and give students additional feedback,” Gapinski said. “We also schedule presentations for students to present in class and offer time for students to come in after school for further practice.” This year, 99 Liberty students qualified to compete at the state competition.
But the road to state was a little bumpier than usual this year. In DECA, there are three main competition types: role plays, case studies, and pre-planned events. Market research papers are usually a large portion of Liberty’s submissions to state and these were the submissions with the most issues. This year, tech issues and extreme weather proved to be DECA’s biggest competitor.
“It was a struggle. A lot of resources are passed down every single year, so we had to go back and rebuild most of the plans and templates we had used in the past decade because they were lost. As far as submission, the issues made everything slow because we either couldn’t get student papers or students wanted additional feedback but I never received their emails.”
In the end, deadlines were extended and all of the papers were successfully submitted to Gapinski, many of which qualified to be presented at state for a chance to excel to the National competition. And though competitions are fun, Gapinski believes that State saves the best for last.
“My favorite part of State is the awards, because they’re the culmination of what we have accomplished and worked for all year. You start out with 200 people in the chapter at Area and then when you go to State, you cut that down by about half, and then by the time we get to nationals we normally get down to about a third. I am continuously working with the same group of people, but the work gets more precise,” Gapinski said.