15 Moanalua trophy winners from DECA CTSO

Ariana Patalinghog, Staff Writer

The format might have been different, but the results were still the same. Moanalua High School’s DECA (business) students dominated the state competition in late February with 15 winners who all qualified for Nationals next month in Atlanta, Georgia.

“We certainly wanted it to be in person this year, but at least this year we had the opportunity to practice in person,” business teacher Joelle Kramer said. 

This year’s contest was held virtually over several days, as opposed to just one day. There were three competitions each day between Feb. 22-24. Moanalua students logged in to the Zoom session from the Performing Arts Center.

“It was hard,” junior Amanda Skedelski said, of her category, business service management, in which she took first place.

Skedelski had to participate in three role play scenarios in front of people in the business community playing the role of client. She had ten minutes to prepare a marketing plan for a fictitious luxury brand marketing manager who wanted to use social media to engage with customers.

“I learned that it’s better to have confidence in yourself as you speak because it adds to your credibility,” she said.

Junior Lauren d’Agrella entered the marketing communications category and also had to participate in a role play. In her case, she had to advise a company facing a crisis with strategies to reassure customers that the company has the situation under control.

“[The second place win] was unexpected,” she said, “It was fun to do.”

She said she will continue to practice different scenarios with their coaches until the April national competition.

Instead of holding the competition at a Waikiki hotel, the students assembled in the auditorium, computers at hand.

“We used the dressing rooms in the back [of the PAC] because it had counters and lights,” Kramer said. She noted that although she and colleague Joanne Yonamine encouraged full business attire, a few students were business on top, and casual on the bottom. 

Two Moanalua alumni and a retired Moanalua High School business teacher helped coach the students over the past few months. 

Kramer said Moanalua alumna Lei Lily Tam, who received her MBA from the University of Southern California and now works for Microsoft, was one of the judges and speakers at the event.