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CKSD biz kids awarded spots in state competition

Central Kitsap High School sophomore Christian Wesley explained his sports project to Mckenzie Kelly of Safeway during the DECA Area 7 competition at Kitsap Mall on Wednesday. - Photo by Jesse Beals
Central Kitsap High School sophomore Christian Wesley explained his sports project to Mckenzie Kelly of Safeway during the DECA Area 7 competition at Kitsap Mall on Wednesday.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

By Paul Balcerak

Staff writer

Two Central Kitsap High School students are headed to the Distributive Education Club of America (DECA) state competition after strong showings at Wednesday’s DECA Area 7 competition at Kitsap Mall.

Brent Aganon and Christian Wesley of Central Kitsap High School placed within the top seven students in their respective areas of competition.

“I feel surprised ... I didn’t think I was gonna make any place,” said Aganon, who took first place in retail merchandising. “It feels pretty good, but at the same time, you hear (another) school’s name over and over again and you don’t expect to win.”

The Central Kitsap School District’s boasting of three students was minute compared to other districts in attendance, especially the Puyallup School District, which dominated the awards ceremony.

But Tim Mahaney, the DECA adviser for CKHS who also oversaw Wednesday’s event, said the competition was expected to be stiff. Washington state’s DECA students have a reputation as being strong contenders at DECA’s national competition.

“If you make it out of Washington, you have a good chance of doing well at nationals,” he said.

DECA is an international association of students, teachers and administrators that seeks to cultivate students’ marketing and management skills.

More than 450 students participated in Wednesday’s Area 7 competition. It was the first in a series that will ultimately lead to an international competition in Atlanta Apr. 26-30.

Students take a written test to qualify for area competitions, which consist of role-playing scenarios that are judged by local volunteers. Students have to act as business professionals while judges assume the role of either a business manager, coworker or customer. There are several other ways besides area competitions to qualify for DECA state competitions.

The event isn’t just a day for students. Kitsap Mall has hosted the event for two years now and has benefited from the large contingent of teen shoppers that flood the building, Kitsap Mall Senior Marketing Manager Stacey Ames said. It also allows mall employees the opportunity to support education and showcase the mall in general.

“It’s a win, win for us. “As a marketing professional, it’s great to showcase (the mall) to marketing students,” Ames said.

The three CKSD winners will now look ahead to DECA’s state competition, which will be held in Bellevue on March 6, 7 and 8.

“I was just expecting to try,” Wesley said. “I’ve never been to state before and I want to go see what it’s like. It’s exciting.”

Taking it to the next level wouldn’t be unprecedented, either. Mahaney had students in 2000 and 2005 who ultimately took first and second, respectively, in the world, in their areas of competition.

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