They went in with high expectations, but Forsyth County’s DECA students couldn’t have predicted how well they would fare at the annual state competition.
The local high school students took home 200 of the 234 awards that went to the top six competitors in 39 different events during the event Saturday at the Georgia World Congress Center.
“That’s 85 percent,” said Genise Tworek, workforce development director for the school system. “It’s absolutely amazing."
All the more so when considering more than 2,000 students from across the state participated in the marketing club competition.
In addition, state DECA recognized the top 25 chapters, with the first four slots filled by the local high schools. South Forsyth ranked first.
“I’m sitting there at the event and they’d be calling out the students that placed and over and over all four high schools were called out," Tworek said.
"And several times, three high schools from Forsyth would get first, second and third place ... it was just phenomenal.”
South Forsyth, which boasts the largest DECA club in the county, had 90 participants and received 58 awards.
West Forsyth featured 100 participants and 66 winners.
Lambert tallied 60 participants and 50 awards, while North Forsyth had 50 participants and 30 awards.
The county system's fifth high school, Forsyth Central, does not have a DECA program.
“We’ve just been building momentum,” Tworek said. “South has been very, very strong for a number of years and West, North and Lambert have really been working on being able to compete on the state level with these competitions.”
Several local students will hold state DECA office, with North Forsyth student Taylor Wingard serving as president.
South Forsyth students Lauren Calvert and Sabine Jean-Baptiste will be vice presidents of chapter development and civic consciousness, respectively.
Events in the competition ranged from 100-question tests and role-play to working on service and business plan manuals.
In Forsyth County, DECA is more than a club. It’s part of the curriculum.
Much like state tests can help show success in teaching, Tworek said DECA competition performances can show how well students are learning the course material.
“These competitions are an example of how well the kids are learning all the marketing and management concepts taught in the classroom,” she said.
“It’s because of the time and the energy that the marketing instructors put into this work.”