DECA leaders attend Chapter Opportunity Workshop (COW), take home top award

Contributing authors: DAHS students Liam Sullivan, Sydney Shortreed, and Emily Chermak

On July 13th and 14th, high school students in DECA chapters all over Wisconsin traveled to the Madison Concourse Hotel for their annual Chapter Opportunity Workshop (COW). DECA, founded in 1947, is an organization of business and marketing students that allows students to prepare for business careers and help their communities. COW is an annual conference where high school DECA leaders get the opportunity to grow as leaders, bond with their chapter, plan upcoming events, and compete for the ultimate prize, the COW Cup. Schools in attendance included: DeForest, Badger,  Bay Port, Dodgeville, Glenwood City, Green Bay Preble, Green Bay Southwest, Menomonie, Oconomowoc, Racine Case, Sparta, Tomah Senior, West Salem, and Wilmot Union.

The COW Cup, a highly regarded traveling trophy, is given to the chapter who finishes with the best combined score from several categories throughout the conference. These categories include: The Amazing Race, COWPARDY (based off of popular trivia game Jeopardy), Competitive Excellence, and Spirit. In the Amazing Race, DeForest students competed against students from other schools throughout downtown Madison. One of the favorite events of DeForest students required two brave volunteers to create and model a costume made out of burlap sacks, pipe cleaners, and foam stickers. DAHS seniors Phillip Chujor and Sydney Shortreed were up to the task. The ‘models,’ surrounded by their fellow DeForest students, walked down a runway in their new outfits while trying to avoid being soaked by water guns and sponges that the competing team threw in their direction. “My favorite part of the Amazing Race was watching our team try to dance and protect our models while getting absolutely soaked,” said DeForest DECA president Emily Chermak.

In addition to the fun of the Amazing Race, students had the opportunity to sharpen their role play skills for the upcoming DECA competition season. In DECA competition, students are given a business scenario, called a “role play,” that requires creative thinking and confidence to solve. After reading the scenario and coming up with a solution, students present their ideas to a judge. When asked about his role play, DeForest senior Liam Sullivan said “It’s never easy to put yourself out there and present in front of the judges, but DECA has definitely prepared me for real life interviews and a future career in business.” During the Competitive Excellence portion, DeForest DECA’s average overall score in the Marketing Cluster Exam placed them 3rd, with Cole Bayer placing 2nd overall.  Rachael Anderson placed 1st individually for her marketing role play. The team also excelled in the trivia part of the competition, known as COWPARDY. DeForest took 1st place in the Entrepreneurship category, and 2nd place in both the Marketing Principles and Movie Trivia categories.

Overall, what really set DeForest apart from other chapters at COW was their team spirit throughout the competition. Even though they didn’t take first place in every category, they made sure to keep trying and make the most out of the day. In the end, DeForest DECA’s tremendous efforts allowed them to win the competition and take home the prestigious COW cup. DeForest had last taken home the trophy in 2014. The DeForest team included seniors: Emily Chermak, Philip Chujor, Brooke Harmon, Sydney Shortreed, Liam Sullivan, and Xavier Zimmerman; and juniors: Rachel Anderson, Cole Bayer, and Audrey Williams.

DeForest’s DECA chapter advisor, John Webster, can be contacted at or (608) 842-6790.


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