Loy Norrix DECA club celebrates success in district competition


State qualifiers and medal awardees Chanel Wilson, Jaydon Kelly, Nadia Abbott, Wendy Miedema, Neyda Isidoro-Martinez, Anna Miedema, Max Belin, Ari Johnson, Javon Harris, Sequoya Morning, Trevor Watts, Caleb Jackson, Meilie Diaz, Jaquan Jennings, Amady Mboup, Aliah Ward, Nateya Thomas, Jackson Bergan, and Gavin Gardner pose for a photo with their medals alongside advisor Atiba Ward. Not pictured are Tamisha Smith and Meilie Diaz who are both qualifiers for the state competition.

August Crothers, Instagram Team

You might be used to hearing the enthusiastic “DECA DECA DECA” during the morning announcements. This enthusiasm is present throughout the club’s members and shows through their interest in leadership and life skills.

The DECA (Distributive Education Club of America) competition for Kalamazoo’s district was held January 15. Outside of the competition cycle, DECA and its members focus their attention towards all things business: teaching entrepreneurship, marketing, managing and making connections with local businesses.

More than a week after the competition, on January 25, DECA members cheered as familiar name after familiar name were displayed as winners of their respective categories. Cheering continued as members went up to Atiba Ward, the business teacher and DECA advisor, in the computer lab to receive their shiny medals.

 This year, district competitions were held in person and online, allowing schools to opt in to either format. Loy Norrix participated in the district competition virtually.

Forty-five students in Loy Norrix’s chapter competed in one way or another. Nineteen students qualified for the state competition and 15 medals were awarded in many different categories and events. Events at the competition include Career Development Project, Travel and Tourism Team Decision Project, Food Marketing Series, among many others.

The state competition is held in Detroit from March 10 to 12. 

“So we’ll go there for the weekend and there’s like three-thousand kids there, all dressed in business attire at Cobo Hall,” said Ward. “They have the lights out, smoke makers, and a big stage where the kids go up to get their awards.”

Students who advance past the state competition will go to nationals in Atlanta, Georgia, where attendees can tour the Coca-Cola factory or the Georgia Aquarium. The national competition will hold similar events as the others, along with college and career exhibits to build one-on-one connections with other DECA members or advisors. 

At all levels of competition, DECA members compete in six main career clusters: business management and administration, hospitality and tourism, entrepreneurship, finance, personal financial literacy and marketing. Within those topics are many different events ranging from designing a business to participating in a stock market game. 

The community here is really kind and it’s very energetic.”

— Trevor Watts

Junior Trevor Watts is one of the students moving on to state competitions. “I competed in principles of finance,” said Watts. “It’s my first year in DECA, it’s really nice. The community here is really kind and it’s very energetic.”

Atiba Ward awards Trevor Watts in both exam and roleplay in the district competition. Watts will be moving onto the state DECA Competition.

The principles of finance competition includes roleplay scenarios where competitors deal with situations relating to simulated financial situations. 


“There is like 38 different ways to participate in DECA,” said Ward. “You could take a test and do a roleplay, or you could write a paper to go, and the paper would be attached to a community service project or an awareness project. So there’s lots of different ways you can be a part of DECA.”

DECA is always accepting new members who would like to participate in next year’s competition cycle or the other DECA related activities happening all school year, like fundraisers and weekly meetings in room K5 Center.