Union R-XI School District will send more students to the state DECA competition than it ever has in its 15-year history.

Last year the school set a personal record by sending 11 students to the state competition. This year, 18 Union students will head to Kansas City March 10-13 to compete for state titles and attempt to move on to the national and international competitions.

DECA Adviser Charles Gehlauf said it was impressive to see so many students do so well in their district. He said District 6, the district Union competes in, is one of the most competitive in the state.

“It’s a pretty big jump numbers wise,” Gehlauf said. “We’re coming out of the biggest district in the state of Missouri. Because they placed in our district — I think that gives us a good chance of winning at state level.”

DECA, formerly known as the Distributive Education Clubs of America, focuses on teaching students about leadership roles and entrepreneurship in careers like marketing, finance and hospitality and management while they are still in high school.

At the competitive level, students compete against one another in several different areas, including : principles of business administration, team decision, individual series, personal finance literacy, business operations research, chapter team, entrepreneurship, marketing representative, personal selling and consulting.

Students compete at a district, state, national and international level. Gehlauf said, in the past, Union students have reached the international level. He said he hopes that is the case this year.