DECA members head to international competition

Four members of the TPHS Distributive Education Club of America are headed to the International Career Development Conference in Anaheim on April 27, joining more than 22,000 other high school students from around the globe for the three-day event.

DECA is a club dedicated to preparing emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in high school and college for business careers through a series of competitions. According to adviser and Business Management Pathway teacher Shannon Taylor, the TPHS club has around 70 members.

Each year, DECA participates in three levels of competition. Members can secure spots at the international conference during state competition.

During competitions, participants choose one of six categories: Business Management and Administration, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Hospitality and Tourism or Marketing and Personal Financial Literacy and take a multiple choice test of 100 questions in their chosen area.

Competitors are then given a role- play scenario, which is used to guide a 10-minute presentation to judges.

Competitors may also opt to submit a 20-page report.

In March, DECA sent 32 members — the most in TPHS history — to the State Career Development Conference in Anaheim.

Shir Haim (9) and Gordon Zhang (10) qualified to advance to the DECA International Career Development Conference.

Haim placed 4th in Business Management and Administration, and Zhang placed 2nd in the same category during the state competition.

“[DECA] takes time and you’re really bad at first,” Haim said. “But I think it started being more fun and easy the more I did it.”

This is Haim’s first year and Zhang’s second year in DECA.

DECA President Chis Ge (12) and Nethra Mahendran (12) qualified independently of the state round and will also attend ICDC under the Emerging Leader Series.

It has been just five years since DECA Club was revived at TPHS, and Ge said that this year the club hit a record number of new students.

“My experience has made me realize that watching my members grow and be proud of their achievements brings me more fulfillment than my own competition results,” Ge said.

Taylor has run DECA since its revival and said it has grown consistently since. “It just took on a life of its own, and I stuck with it because the kids were so passionate about it,” Taylor said.

This year, due to the increase in membership, students split into small groups to study and mentor one another.

“I enjoyed dedicating my time after school to work with my small group because I could nurture them individually and witness their progress over time,” Ge said.

Despite the fact that all current club officers are seniors graduating this year, the hopes are high for the future of TPHS DECA.

“All seven of our officers are currently seniors so we are electing an entirely new officer team this year,” Ge said. “Especially in our large population of first-year members, I see great potential in each and every one of them.”

Photos by Anna Opalsky/Falconer

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