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Laumer takes third at DECA nationals

Stephanie Laumer picked the right time to do her best work as a member of Rosemount High School's DECA club.

The RHS senior gave what she called the best performance of her life in a role playing exercise in the finals of the national DECA competition last month in Louisville, Ky. It was her final competition as an RHS DECA member and it was good enough for third place among more than 300 competitors in the business services and marketing category.

Laumer follows in the footsteps of Katherine Knight, who in 2008 placed second second in her category at the DECA championships. DECA advisor Ryan Harrison has a photo of Knight in his classroom at RHS and Laumer said seeing it every day helped motivate her.

"Stephanie has a keen ability to apply business principles to real world examples," Harrison said. "She is very talented as well as a hard worker."

This is Laumer's third year in DECA and the first year she's advanced to the national conference. She made it to state her first year, she said, but got into a fight with her partner before the competition. She was a state finalist last year.

"I completely exceeded my goal," she said. "I think I'm the second person in my school to place (at nationals). I feel like I got as far as I possibly could have, and it's a great thing."

For a while, Laumer was worried a mixed-up schedule might keep her out of the finals. Students start out in sections of 60 and have to advance through two rounds, ultimately placing in the top two, to qualify for the final round. Laumer lost her schedule, though, and when she showed up at what she thought was the right time nobody knew when she was supposed to go. When she finally figured everything out she had lost some of the time she would usually have had to prepare.

That's a big deal in an event that requires competitors to do a lot of thinking on their feet. Students in the business services and marketing category are given a scenario for each of their rounds and have 10 minutes to study it and prepare for their role playing. With her late start, Laumer figured she was finished.

"When I was done (with the role play) I was bawling my head off," Laumer said. "I thought I was done."

She wasn't, though, and Laumer was thrilled with her result. She received her award on stage in front of thousands of other students from around the country.

"It was the craziest feeling being up on stage," Laumer said. "You're just shaking, but it's the coolest feeling and hearing your name called. I wish I could go back."

More success

Laumer wasn the only RHS student to place at the national conference, but she wasn't the only one to fare well. Senior Paige Henke placed in the top 10 in her event, entrepreneurship participating.

For her competition Henke had to create her own business from the ground up and pitch it to judges. She created a web site that connected banks with investors.

"It was a lot of fun, especially to meet so many people," Henke said.

RHS students Calvin Benson, Kali Debaun, Micah Marshall, Sara Devitt, Abby Ceglar and Katelyn Paget also competed at the national conference.