Many high school students lack critical skills needed for college and the real world such as management, organization, communication, and presentation skills, and in an increasingly competitive world, it can be helpful to develop these skills early. This is exactly what DECA offers.
DECA is an international organization of high school clubs that prepares students for future careers in business, marketing, and management. The high school chapters compete in regional, state, and international competitions where members go head-to-head in business-oriented events.
“DECA educates students in business through competition and various business activities. Students can compete in events ranging from a startup business plan to financial consulting,” said Selena Sun, a junior, founder, and co-president of Carlmont DECA.
The club meets at lunch every Wednesday, during which club members improve their speaking and leadership skills through various activities or presentations. They learn tips about investing, budgeting, and management relating to businesses.
Denise Zhou, a junior, wanted to join this club to improve her leadership skills.
“I joined this club to become a better speaker and leader,” Zhou said. “The majority of the events that we do have a presentation component and there are lots of opportunities to get leadership positions in the club, so there were lots of ways for me to improve my presentation skills.”
DECA is not just for students who are interested in business, though. The skills that are learned in the club can be applied to all career paths.
“It is a unique opportunity for high school students to get interested in business. Business and public speaking skills are applicable in almost every career. We have members who are interested in careers from business administration to mechanical engineering,” said Lily Gittoes, a junior and co-president along with Sun.
Another aspect of DECA is regional and state competitions, and international competitions if the club qualifies. Recently, 10 Carlmont DECA members attended the 2019 Silicon Valley Career Development Conference (SVCDC) at which many members excelled.
“We attended a regional competition, which is a three-day, two-night conference at a hotel. Most of us made it on stage as the top eight finalists, and we had four people place as top three in their events,” Zhou said.
DECA club members had been spending a lot of time preparing for competitions. While most clubs only have two or four meetings a month, DECA has two separate meetings every Wednesday.
“At lunch meetings, we are much more laid back and do fun activities to try to get to know each other. After school on Wednesday, we have workshops where we prepare for upcoming competitions. Competition for DECA is quite complicated because it consists of many different types of events,” said Leon Tan, a senior.
With all the work that was put in, Sun was stoked about the competition’s outcome.
“We were all pleasantly surprised at how well we did, but we’re also overjoyed to see our hard work pay off,” Sun said.
After a successful regional competition, the club hopes to later qualify for the international competition.
“We’re attending the state conference in early March. We’re competing against DECA students from all across the Bay Area in an attempt to win the DECA top three and qualify for internationals,” Sun said.