Following DECA club’s suspension, internal changes occur to prepare for next year’s return

Michelle Lee

Staff Writer

    Impeccable business suits. Immaculate dress shoes. Research in one hand, award in the other. Marketing the idea. Pitching the plan. Leading the team. Achieving the goal.

    Welcome to DECA. With its many members and events, it’s sure to provide an abundance of valuable experiences for one’s future. First things first: what is DECA about?

    “It’s a business club, and there are five clusters that you can participate in. There’s entrepreneurship, marketing, finance, hospitality, and business administration,” described an anonymous source familiar with the club’s activities. “[In some events], anybody from any cluster can participate.”

    One of these events was an online competition that would allow the top two participants of each region to advance to the International Career Development Conference (ICDC). The students chosen to attend are permitted to move to the established location and stay in that vicinity for the duration of the event. The location for this year was Anaheim in Los Angeles.

    “You could go to Disneyland and stay for a whole week, and you get excused from school. That’s a really big motivation for people and it looks really good on college applications if you place on an international level,” explained the anonymous source. “Because of that, it’s a really big deal that people want to go to.”

    In order to join the online competition, a team must be formed and approved by the advisor. Unfortunately, due to a miscommunication involving the deadline and the advisor’s ability to accept the request, the team was not approved by a certain date and code was written to hack into the system and gain the approval needed to move forward, causing administrators to get involved.

    “Sometimes when we are so result-oriented, we make bad mistakes. Because when the goal is all we care about, we do anything to achieve it,” stated a second anonymous source. “People don’t always know the line between doing what is necessary without breaking rules.”

    As a result, DECA club will no longer being able to participate in any official events or competitions for the remainder of the school year. According to the school administration’s memo, “this decision is meant to serve as both a consequence of these actions as well as an opportunity to re-establish DECA in accordance with its intended principles.”

    “I think when you’re always around that [competitive] environment, it’s very much like a hierarchy. You’re doing whatever you can to be the best that you can be,” said the first anonymous source. “For a lot of people, this competition was a guarantee that they were going to get in. So [the code that was written was] a shot to get in.”

    Competition can get the better of people, and, in many situations, it usually means that some people have gotten too caught up in the moment.

    “I know a lot of people in the club and they’re really kind people. I think that you get really influenced by the people around you daily. For example, if you’re in leadership, you get influenced by [leaders],” said the source. “For DECA, it’s a club where you’re competing so you’re basically serving yourself…It’s mainly the competitive spirit that gets people.”

    Despite these setbacks, it is important to look forward rather than backward. Rather than dwelling on what has happened, the focus should be on what will happen. Although DECA club itself has been temporarily suspended, not all of the club’s activities have been halted for the school year. It’s not game over yet; it’s a checkpoint.

    “There are certain parts of the club that are still being allowed to move forward and that includes some club members that have been part of the club for several years,” explained assistant principal Ms. Barrington. “That also includes prospective students who are currently taking the marketing class and have been sort of shadowing the club with the intention of joining in the future.”

    In addition, an unofficial club called DECA Aspire is permitted to advance, thus allowing students still interested in DECA to participate in related activities.

    “It’s for people who want to be in DECA but can’t take the marketing class…That way, people can still learn about business, and they could participate in the little competitions,” described the first anonymous source. “It’s not like an established competition, but since it’s from school to school, it could be a really good experience for networking.”

    On behalf of the club’s new leadership, a DECA Aspire member shared information on the progress being made:  “DECA Aspire is running strong, having weekly meetings. We fully want to make sure that members this year have a strong foundation to not only re-apply for DECA to be a club, but [to] also successfully compete at DECA conferences to make our school proud.”  

    With this opportunity to participate in similar events, students interested in entering officer positions for DECA’s comeback next school year will not have to worry about completely missing out.

    “We think that the students that would be moving forward with the club would be new leadership and wanting to move forward with a positive tone. It would certainly be up to the officers and the advisor about what they want to put forward to their club members,” encouraged Ms. Barrington. “Those that are juniors or sophomores and are able to move forward and want to continue positively; I support them reapplying.”

    For future members of DECA, whether they are officers or not, it is important to understand the commitment that comes with joining. DECA aims to motivate the students to rise to the challenge and gain a wider range of skills related to business.

    “I hope that people are joining…because they want to learn about business, have the opportunity to work on different events, learn about the community more, and do it because they’re passionate about it,” stated the anonymous source. “Not just because it looks good on college applications or that you can go to parties. I don’t think those are the right intentions, and I don’t think you should go into it to only win either.”

    When DECA club returns, both new and old members alike are advised to put the best of themselves into their actions. Although DECA’s present seems cloudy, administrators and involved students alike assert that this year’s incident will galvanize next year’s officers.   

    “For the future, do good work,” concluded Ms. Barrington. “The backbone of DECA, the work that they do, is good for students. I would love to see that part continue.”

Caption: For DECA club, students join to gain a better understanding of the world of business, as well as to support their passion for the included aspects of DECA. “It’s more than just learning about business,” emphasized a source who chooses to remain anonymous. “There’s a lot of other factors that go into it because of all of the privileges that you get.”  (PC: DECA)

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