Cove DECA students to compete at world contest Friday, Saturday

Special to Leader-Press 

For 20 years, Copperas Cove High School DECA members have qualified for the international competition under adviser Charlotte Heinze.  This year is no exception as six teams of students head to sunny Florida this weekend for the opportunity to conquer the world. 
Heinze said every team has a different “personality” and a camaraderie that’s not found in most academic competitions.
“Every year is a new challenge and new groups,” Heinze said. “I’m proud of them, but we’re not done. There is a lot of talent sitting here, and I have very high expectations for them as we compete in the international contest.”
The students began competition at the district contest with more than two dozen competitors from CCHS among 1,400 statewide vying for fewer than 500 spots. All advanced to state where the number advancing to the international contest reduced to 17 with five additional students selected as international alternates. These 17 join approximately 20,000 more DECA members from around the globe that will compete today and Saturday in a myriad of categories. 
“Although competing at the Texas State Development Conference is very exciting and rewarding for all the competitors, the experience that all the CCHS DECA students built by furthering their competition at the International Career Development Conference is something they will remember for the rest of their lives,” Heinze said.
The world competition will be the final DECA contest in which CCHS DECA Chapter President Ashley Wilson participates. She has learned a lot about herself through the competitions. 
“I am both excited and nervous to compete. However, I took a moment to reflect and decided that I wasn’t going to compete against others. Instead, I was going to compete against myself and do better than I did last year,” Wilson said. “My thoughts are again exactly the same as last year, to work harder, practice more and do better than I did last year in hopes of advancing to nationals. I strive for perfection, but I must always remember that nobody is perfect and there is always room for improvements.”
Last year, 23 of the 26 students, 88 percent, received Certificates of Excellence scoring at an elite level but not placing in the top three in the world against more than 19,000 competitors.
 “These students have been working very hard all year, and I expect them to do a good job. But, I also know that competition will be very tough, so they need to be as prepared as possible,” Heinze said.

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