Later this month, Laramie High School’s DECA chapter will attend their first competition of the academic year.

The competition, set to take place on Oct. 21 in Casper, Wyo. is a marketing and entrepreneurship conference known as MEC.

A majority of DECA’s members are going with 24 members expected to attend out of the 35-36 members in the club.

“Hopefully most students competing at MEC from Laramie, especially the advanced students, will receive a high achieving award for scoring beyond a certain point both on their role plays and multiple-choice tests; last year we did so I hope to continue that,” senior Alhena Islam said.

The conference marks the first competition for LHS’s DECA chapter and will act as a sort of introductory competition familiarizing novice students with how competition works.

In addition, it will give returning students an opportunity to shake of their dust and get back into competition.

This year’s MEC will consist of both competition and workshops for students to participate in according to Islam who is a state DECA office and helped organize the event.

“We will have a training which is basically for public speaking and mostly for the novice students, just teaching them how to do role plays better as its their first competition and for advanced students we will have more public speaking and general leadership skills practice,” Islam said.

Typically, at a DECA competition students can compete in four different categories which are: marketing, finance, business management and hospitality/ tourism.

The actual competition consists of a 100-question multiple choice test, which students have 90 minutes to complete, and a role play in which students have 10 minutes to respond to five questions about a theoretical scenario and then present it to a group of judges.

Students are then scored on how well they do on the test and their response and public speaking skills during their role play.

However, at MEC students will complete the test before hand and are given the role play scenario before they arrive so they will have extra time to analyze it and come up with a solution.

This decreases the stress of competing for the first time and instead allows new students to focus on how competition works and improving. In addition, novice students will be given role plays which are less complex and judges will score them less harshly and give them direct feedback on their performance.

“It’s really nerve-racking to go up to a judge for the first time and talk about your ideas and have them judge you based on your ideas and public speaking in general, but I have definitely improved over time,” Islam said.

In addition, students at MEC will only be competing in marketing and entrepreneurship.

Last year the club tried to integrate more practice during their meetings by transitioning to evening meeting where students could practice and even do mock competitions with less experienced members. This has allowed members this year to be much more prepared for competition.