DECA reigns in 34 state qualifiers at 2020 district competition


Midlo seniors enjoy the food court after competing at DECA DLC.

On Wednesday, January 8, 2020, Midlothian High School’s DECA chapter traveled to Chesterfield Towne Center to compete in the annual DECA District Leadership Conference (DLC). Sports Marketing, IB Business Management, and Opportunities in Global Trade students practiced for this competitive event in class a few days prior to the competition, and they left school feeling confident and ready to take home the gold yet again for Midlothian High School DECA. The students’ energy and determination to win during the bus ride over as they discussed their various events and proper strategies to impress the judges led to a successful day at competition. Marketing teacher and DECA club sponsor Mrs. Carolyn Manheim exclaims, “My DECA members are truly exceptional, bright, and dedicated kids. They never fail to give DECA their 100% effort, and I am so proud to have such amazing students. They looked like winners, acted like winners, and won.”.

In previous years, students competed in two role play events at the competition; however, this year, each student only performed one role play for a job, allowing for a smoother, faster day. Along with this, usually only the top two students in each event would qualify for the DECA State Leadership Conference (SLC) in Virginia Beach, but this year, the top four students in each category are eligible for this honor.

DECA focuses on marketing, so any student who joins DECA must be in a business/marketing class in accordance to Virginia DECA rules. The club provides an opportunity for students to experience life as an entrepreneur, an inventor, a marketing planner, and many other roles they may experience in the business world following high school. At DECA competitions, like DLC, the students face difficult tasks involving some sort of business/marketing problem, and they create plans that would solve the problem. The issue could be anything from how to bring in more customers to a store on a day that lacks its usual congestion, to how to compete with a similar store in the same shopping center; the issues are endless. Throughout the year, Mrs. Manheim also hosts different catered social events for club members and provides community service activities. Sign-ups for DECA do not begin again until next school year, but as scheduling time approaches, anyone interested in DECA should sign up for a marketing class to gain eligibility.

Upon arrival at the mall, students studied, shopped, dined, and socialized at the shopping center while waiting for their role play events. Zach Biller, Jay Burdette, Ryan Funderburk, Thomas Rose, Casey Steed, Ben Wrobel, Adrian Cox, Vic Lin, Alex Neofotistos, Ryan Monahan, and Ben McCormack dined at Five Guys following their role plays, chatting about their individual experiences with the judges. Zach Vanderslice, Drew Blankenship, Blake Longest, and William Galleher met up at Red Robin after their events, discussing the various ideas they shared with the judges and hoping for a good outcome to their role plays. Manheim and chaperone Mr. Steve Hayward ran their respective booths, smoothly welcoming and preparing students for their role play events. First time competitor senior Allison Vonderharr shares, “It was a lot less stressful than I was expecting, and it was a great experience for me, as I hope to major in business at the University of Virginia.”

For the 2020 District Leadership Conference, Midlothian High School came out ready to win, and they did exactly that with an outstanding total of 34 students qualifying for states, a larger number than Midlo has ever seen before. All students are eligible to join Mrs. Manheim and her fellow chaperones in Virginia Beach on Friday, February 28, 2020, to show of their business talent to the rest of Virginia at the 2020 State Leadership Conference.

Congratulations to the following students who will represent Midlothian at SLC:

1st Place Winners:

Maggie Monroe, Apparel & Accessories Marketing
Drew Blankenship, Accounting Applications
Ryan Funderburk, Business Finance Services
Aidan Novak, Entrepreneurship
Ben Wrobel, Personal Financial Literacy
Olivia Nealon, Principles of Business Management & Administration
Lexi Labott, Principles of Marketing
Preston Willett, Quick Service Restaurant Management

2nd Place Winners:

 Ethan Smith, Accounting Applications
Jack Nuckols, Business Finance
Derek Christmas, Business Services Marketing
Adrian Cox, Entrepreneurship
Justin Valera, Food Marketing
Abigail Shepherd, Hotel & Lodging Management
Braden Berger, Marketing Communications
Kylie Dixon, Quick Service Restaurant Management
Jake Childers, Sports & Entertainment Marketing

3rd Place Winners:
Alex Neofotistos, Accounting Applications
Daniel Brishke, Automotive Services
Michael Finfgeld, Business Finance
Jackson Abel, Food Marketing
Zach Harriman, Hotel & Lodging Management
Anosh Pithawalla, Job Interview
Thomas Rose, Quick Service Restaurant Management
Anna Sommardahl, Restaurant & Food Service Management
William Galleher, Retail Merchandising

4th Place Winners:
Vic Lin, Accounting Applications
DJ Veliadis, Business Finance
Seth Grossman, Food Marketing
Blake Longest, Hotel & Lodging Management
Matthew Hunter, Human Resource Management
Ashley Manheim, Quick Service Restaurant Management
Alex Bretana, Selling
Kylie Roussell, Retail Merchandising