In Central Texas, Copperas Cove

Sixteen students from the Copperas Cove High School DECA program advanced to the state competition after winning the 2022 District V DECA Competition on Saturday.

DECA is a career and technical education student organization. Nineteen members competed in various business and marketing events against 24 other high schools across Central Texas.

“There were 1,141 student competitors with about 546 advancing to state,” CCHS DECA adviser Raysharon Brown said. “This has to have been a challenging year for everyone with all the unknowns and changes. The entire process was new to me and was a lot of information to learn to get the students ready. Despite the challenges, the students did amazing, bringing home the win. District V is known to be one of the toughest competitions in the state.”

District V DECA Vice President and CCHS DECA President Emma MacDonald is a fourth-year competitor in the annual contest.

“The one word I would use to describe how I felt going into competition was excited,” McDonald said. “After competing virtually all last year, it was so nice to finally have an in-person conference.

“This year was much different than any other I had competed in because as a District V officer, I was actually hosting the contest. I was able to help plan the activities, interview incoming officers, and speak to over 1,000 students. It was so rewarding hearing my name called to advance to state contest in March. My hard work paid off and I can’t wait to bring home additional awards to Copperas Cove.”   

DECA students select various projects that improve the economic status of local businesses and/or improve the quality of life in their communities. Winners in the Project Management Community Awareness category, including CCHS DECA Vice President Nicholas Hollingsworth, Grayson Avritt, and Abigayle Rocha, worked with the Miss Five Hills Scholarship Program to promote suicide awareness and prevention. 

“My sister has affected my life in so many ways. She is the person who introduced me to DECA,” Hollingsworth said. “It’s only fitting that I’m doing this project to educate my community about her story regarding suicide and many others’ stories. The hard work and effort we put into this project led up to this day.

“The pressure that you feel prior to competing is indescribable. As we looked around, seeing all the groups from other schools getting up to receive their awards, with the large screen displaying everyone’s names and the constant cheering of the schools’ participants, it was almost overwhelming as we heard our names finally called, ‘Avritt, Hollingsworth, Rocha:  Copperas Cove High School.’ And just like that, the angst and anxiety disappeared and were replaced by joy.”

More than 8,500 high school students compete in March for a place on the Texas DECA team to compete at the International Career Develop Conference in April. Fewer than 600 will advance.