CCHS DECA Students Take State Titles

In the first state competition in person since COVID, Creek Senior Mason Levy places first in two categories


Senior Mason Levy wins two first place titles in the state DECA competition which took place on Feb. 27 – Mar. 1. “This year I really wanted to take first, and then I did it twice,” Levy said.

And first place, from Cherry Creek High School, Mason Levy, again!

Senior Mason Levy stood in shock staring out at the audience of the award ceremony for the 2022 DECA State Leadership Conference which took place on Feb. 27 – Mar. 1 at the Broadmoor Hotel. He participated in the Business Finance DECA role-play and writing parts of the competition and won first place for both. 

“It was just surreal because the lights were in my eyes, so I couldn’t see the audience very well, but I just heard everyone from Creek just screaming at the top of their lungs,” Levy said. “I just grabbed the banner and grabbed the trophy then smiled and held them both up in the air. I was ecstatic.”

Each DECA section has two categories for students to participate in. In business, the roleplay is a ten minute presentation where students create a plan for a business they have been previously assigned to help them improve their portfolio. Levy’s written portion was a 20 paged project on financial literacy that he had to enact in the Creek community before presenting it.

Levy was surprised he won the roleplay as he had spent the majority of his preparation time on his financial literacy project and spent much less on his roleplay. 

His financial literacy project, “Young Financial Literacy,” was a several month long project aimed at making young people aware of how to be financially literate. He created an Instagram account, @youngfinanciallit, where he posted updates, financial terms, and financial tips. 

“Last year I placed nationally for [a roleplay in] Personal Financial Literacy,” Levy said. “This year I wanted to go beyond that. So I decided instead of doing a roleplay in financial literacy, I would do a different type of roleplay and then I would do a project management financial literacy event.”  

After getting second place at state last year, Levy wanted to earn first place for at least one of the categories, which is why he worked on his financial literacy project from Sept. 2021 to Jan. 2022. He also spent a lot of time volunteering to help other DECA members with preparing for their parts in the conference, which he believes helped him have an improved understanding of how the judges decide on a winner. Despite this, he was not expecting to win both.

“I just sat down and I’m holding these two trophies in my hand and these two banners that say state champion,” Levy said. “So this year I really wanted to take first, and then I did it twice.”

Levy’s two first place wins were monumental for Creek because students usually compete in only one competition, roleplay or written, or they do both, but only win first for one. 

“I don’t know if it’s ever happened [before Levy],” business teacher Dan Sheeks said. “If so, it’s been a long time.”

Also at the DECA conference, business teacher Erica Padzik claimed the title New Teacher of the Year by the Colorado Marketers Educators Association. She has been a teacher at Creek for eight years and this is her fifth year in DECA. 

“It was really fun,” Padzik said. “But as fun as it was for me, I think it was really fun for our chapter. I really just enjoyed seeing the kids having something to smile about.” 

And, to celebrate her award, Creek students in the audience raised posters with her face on them into the air while cheering her name.

The Creek spirit didn’t stop there since other DECA students were also winning their competitions, such as the Bear Necessities team.

Bear Necessities managers are senior DECA students who compete in the Sales Project event in the Project Management category where they present their work for the store. This year’s senior managers are Stella Weiss, Heath Megnin, and Cooper Baranek. The annual change in student management makes each year’s project unique. For instance, the store had  a “product of the week” on their social media this year.

“This year, the Bear Necessities project focused on building back the amazing Creek spirit within our community after being remote,” Weiss said.

According to Weiss, this year was particularly special for the managers because they had the opportunity to be more involved in the Creek community – the last two years were difficult due to being remote during the pandemic. This year, they could do pop-up shops, booths at football games, and displays at other school events.

Like Levy, the award ceremony at the state competition was motivating for Weiss, who had also devoted months to this project.

“It was fun to see all of the hard work that we’ve been working on throughout the year pay off,” Weiss said.

Creek was highly successful in this year’s DECA competition with two first place role play winners, four first place writing winners, and six runner ups in both categories. Overall, 43 Creek kids will be attending the national conference in Atlanta, Georgia on April 23-26, 2022.

“Having the opportunity [to go to nationals], I’m super ecstatic, and I want first,” Levy said. “That’s my goal, to just really work on my [financial literacy project], make it the best it can be and take first internationally. I think that’d be really cool.”