DECA succeeds at states, looks to nationals


Photo by Ely Snow

Junior vice president Daniela Znam and junior Amanda Simensky present a practice roleplay during the weekly DECA meeting. DECA meets every Friday at lunch in room 110.

After great success at state competition in February, the DECA team is on the move towards nationals, to be held in Orlando, Florida between April 22-25.

DECA is a business and career club for students and young adults with a mission to “prepare emerging leaders and entrepreneurs,” according to their website. Established in 1946, DECA now has members in every state and even overseas. The club has four main sectors of focus to choose from: Hospitality & Tourism, Marketing, Finance and Business Management & Administration.

“I found DECA and it was all about working with other people and building real world skills. I love that it has applications to real life and careers that I can use,” junior and club vice president Daniela Znam said.

For WJ’s chapter, there are three competitions — regionals, states and nationals. Most recently, they competed at states, or SCDC (State Career Development Conference), in Baltimore, where they sent 17 members. There, eight managed to qualify for ICDC (International Career Development Conference) by finishing in one of the top spots for their respective sectors. Three won a gold medal — Znam, junior Frans Rejsjoe and junior president Allison Xu.

Inside the different sectors, competition is divided into two events — a roleplay event and a written portion that is pre-prepared and presented to judges on the day of competition.

In the roleplay event, competitors must think on their feet. After being presented with a scenario from the judges, students have 10 minutes to read, think and prepare before using the next 10 minutes to present their response to a judge. Responses are scored out of 100, and whoever gets the most points, wins.

WJ DECA poses for a picture at Maryland SCDC (State Career Development Conference) in Baltimore in February. There they found great success with nine members finishing as medalists in their respective events.

The written portion is scored similarly, as students must build a business model or another similar case study before the tournament, then present to a judge for a maximum of 15 minutes at the conference.

Now, the club is amid preparations for nationals in April at Orlando, Florida, where they will be looking to replicate their state-level success. Most of this preparation occurs during their weekly meetings, where Kahoots, practice roleplays and more are used to hone members’ skills.

“To prepare, I like to look at past roleplays on the DECA website. I can use those and think about how to respond to those prompts so I’m ready for whatever they give me,” junior Brett Wall said.

Coming off of their strong performance at states, the club is now focused on preparation work in the coming weeks, which will be crucial to success in Orlando.

“DECA is really all about what you put into it,” Znam said. “What you get out of it depends on the work you put in.”

No matter the result, members will remain hopeful and keep working hard to improve for the future — in competition and in a career path after high school.

“DECA WJ is a great club. We’re up and running now; we’ve got a lot more members this year and I know we’ll grow. Hopefully we’ll do well at nationals,” junior Frans Rejsjo said.