Cove DECA students competing on world stage

Special to Leader-Press


Like a needle in a haystack, the question will be: Can Copperas Cove students stand out among their peers?  Copperas Cove High School DECA students flew to Annaheim, California on Tuesday and are in final competition today and tomorrow at the international competition against more than 19,000 other high school students from around the globe.  

CCHS has 27 students competing in a variety of categories. DECA members Sean Adams, Adrian Alejos and Jaydon Dilling, all members of the Entrepreneurship Promotion Project, won first at the state level and hope to take top honors again on Saturday.

“Competing at the state conference was exciting,” Dilling said. “Everyone is there with one goal, to win. As nerve-wracking as it can be, I was really confident in our project because of all the hard work put into it and receiving an award and competing at the internationals level makes it all worthwhile.”

Approximately 850 students are representing Texas at the international conference. DECA member Ashley Wilson competed at the international contest last year and hopes that experience will provide an advantage.

“I’m in it to win it this year and I cannot wait to come home with Copperas Cove’s first international win,” Wilson said.

Of the 19,000 competitors, 180 students will win cash awards, scholarships, and job opportunities. CCHS DECA adviser Charlotte Heinze said many of the benefits of the competition cannot be measured.

“The students had set up a number of practice nights to prepare for competition and even insisted on practicing as soon as we got here. The students are so pumped and excited and want to win at internationals,” Heinze said. “These students have worked so hard and have done such an amazing job at promoting and hosting their events.”

Copperas Cove High School has an outstanding reputation as a DECA chapter consistently qualifying for the international contest year after year. DECA member Tariq Anthony said the expectations add to the stress of an already high pressure competition.

“The fact of having to present our project to a random judge isn’t easy,” Anthony said. “Hearing our last names being called to accept the award for going to internationals was a relief. (Fellow competitors) and I all just felt so proud of each other and so happy that our journey with DECA wasn’t over. I’m so proud of our group and how hard that we’ve worked to reach this point and can’t wait to see how well we do.”


Copperas Cove High School has 27 DECA students competing to the international contest in Anaheim, California against 19,000 high school students from around the world.  They will compete in the following categories.

•   Alex Brown, Jordan Speight and Bryant Williams: Creative Marketing Project

•   Brittney Colbath, Tiana Byrd and Jashel Negron-Aponte: Community Service Project

•   Rebekah Garris, Tariq Anthony and Brandon Parton: Entrepreneurship Business Growth Plan

•   Jaydon Dilling, Sean Adams and Adrian Alejos: Entrepreneurship Promotion Plan

•   Deric McPhail, Mikayla Devins and Tierra Mendoza: Financial Literacy Promotion Project

•   Ashley Wilson, Chase Thomas and Myles Alexander: Hospitality and Tourism Operations Research Event

• Fernando Ramirez, Victoria Espinosa and Ariana Wilson: Hospitality and Tourism Operations Research Event

•   Marcus McCrea, Kyle Wall and Gabriel Williams: Sports and Entertainment Marketing Research Business Operations Event

•   Hunter Elson, Seth Wheeler and Arianna Martinez: Sports and Entertainment Marketing Research Business Operations Event

•   Kendall Small, Joshua Canete and Sihyeon Stephans: Public Relations Project (Alt)

•   Marcus Ortiz, Celina Resto and Cameron Thomas: Learn and Earn Project (Alt)

•   Naomi Edie and Imani Wilborn: Hospitality and Tourism Team Decision Making Event (Alt)


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