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Rosemount High School DECA: Good business sense

Katherine Knight has the trophy, but she still can't quite believe it's hers.

Knight, a senior at Rosemount High School, is still getting used to the idea she finished second in the nation at last month's DECA championships in Atlanta, Ga. She won the award in the sports and entertainment marketing category.

"It was such a great feeling," she said.

And such a strange moment.

To start with, organizers called Knight and her fellow finalists to the stage at the wrong time during the awards ceremony April 30 at the Georgia Dome. When started naming the top finishers and Knight didn't hear her name in third place, she figured her chances were done. She'd finished in the top 10 in the same event last year and she was satisfied to have done as well this time around.

Then they announced second place.

"My face just lit up," Knight said. "I ran up to the podium and I lost my shoe on the way. Everybody in the front was shouting, 'Cinderella.' I'm holding this trophy and I've got no shoe on."

More than 300 students from around the country competed in Knight's event. She had to finish in the top two in her section in order to advance to finals.

Knight is a sports fan, but her decision to compete in the sports and entertainment marketing category was as much a matter of convenience as anything. A DECA member since her sophomore year, Knight served this year as a state-level vice president for the organization. That didn't leave her much time for any competition that required a lot of preparation. Sports and entertainment marketing, which presents students with a situation and gives them 10 minutes to put something together, was a good fit. It was a test of how well Knight had learned business principles rather than of her ability to prepare something months in advance.

"It's all on your feet. You don't know what's going to come up," Knight said. "It's really random and spontaneous, but that's what I like about it."

For her finals competition Knight was presented with a situation involving a car dealership struggling with image problems and looking to turn its business around. She dreamed up cross promotions with local sports teams and other plans and presented it to judges.

"(The scenario) was very vague, but I felt like after I finished it, it was probably one of the best role plays I've ever done," Knight said. "That role play encompassed everything I felt I've learned in DECA.

"It was such a great feeling."

Knight plans to study French, Spanish and international business in college.

Other successes

Knight had the biggest win, but she wasn't the only RHS DECA student to fare well at the national competition.

Kayla Sedbrook, Emily Olson, Mitch Lefebvre and Jay Werness all qualified for finals in the sports and entertainment team decision making event.

The teams of Sedbrook and Olson and Lefebvre and Werness both placed in the top 10 in the country.

Dustin Green finished in the top 18 in the restaurant and food service marketing series event. He had to score well on a marketing exam and present two role plays.

Dan Hines and Andrew Mike both competed in the business law and ethics event. Emily Willman competed in the apparel and accessories event and Lesley Decker competed in the fashion promotion plan event.