Nearly 2,000 high school marketing students, teachers and administrators from across the state gathered at Crown Center in Kansas City from March 24-26 for the 71st annual Missouri DECA State Career Development Conference.

DECA is an international association of high school students studying marketing, finance, hospitality and management. Missouri DECA has more than 7,900 members with 150 chapters across the state.

During the DECA Conference in Kansas City, members were evaluated by more than 150 business and industry professionals who served as competitive events judges. Participating students competed in problem-solving realistic workplace topics and case studies through one-on-one interaction with an executive or community member.

Students participated in principles of business administration, individual series events, business operations research projects, team decision making events, chapter team projects, leadership academies and entrepreneurship projects. DECA’s industry-validated competitive events are aligned with the National Curriculum Standards in the career clusters of marketing, business management, and administration, finance, and hospitality and tourism.

Winners at the state conference earned the right to advance to International DECA competition that will be held April 26 through May 1 in Orlando.

The following students from the Scott Regional Technology Center DECA chapter have advanced to International DECA competition:

Pollyanna Johnson (Monett) and Eric Carsten (Aurora) -- SBE Gold Re-Certification Isamar Ibarra (Monett) and Alexandra Valenciano (Monett) -- third place, Creative Marketing Project Kenyon Broten (Aurora) -- fourth place, Food and Restaurant Management Briana Mejia (Monett) -- fifth place, Learn and Earn Project

Students who placed in the top eight for their events were:

Erin Reed (Crane) -- Integrated Marketing Plan-Service Gavin Bailey (Monett) and Gabriel George (Pierce City) -- Sports and Entertainment Team Decision Making