Warren County students are heading to DECA state championship

Photo submitted to Times Observer Warren County Career Center DECA state finalists (left) Ryan Zavinski and Joshua Smith each placed second in their respective categories at the District 1 Competition in Butler.

A pair of Warren County students are headed to states.

Joshua Smith and Ryan Zavinski each placed second in their respective events at the DECA District Competition at Butler County Community College in December, qualifying them for the state competition.

Smith will compete in the Principles of Finance competition. Zavinski is moving forward in the Human Resources event.

This will be Smith’s first time at the state event, but it is familiar territory for Zavinski, who advanced to the DECA International Competition in Atlanta last year in Principals of Business Management and Administration.

In all, six Warren County Career Center students competed at districts, which includes the programs from Warren, Bradford, Clearfield, DuBois, McDowell, Ridgway, and St. Marys. The top three finishers in each category move on to states, according to advisor Cathie Cummings.

That competition will be held Feb. 20 through 22 in Hershey.

Each competitor is faced with a 100-question multiple choice test to determine their level of knowledge, and a role-playing scenario related to their field to determine their ability to overcome challenges.

“Students are given a scenario to a real-world situation in their marketing or business event,” Cummings said. “They have to find a solution and present their solution to a judge.”

To prepare students for that, and more generally for the kinds of things they will face in futures in the business world, the career center welcomes Community Foundation of Warren County Executive Director John Lasher and Warren County Visitors Bureau Executive Director Dave Sherman as practice judges.

“We really appreciate the time and expertise that John and Dave gave to our students to help them prepare for the district competition,” Cummings said.

“DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe,” according to the DECA website.