DECA at American High School participates in a competition after suspension

Karyle Agno

Staff Writer

     DECA. Where people in ravishing business attire present a plan, market the idea, and hold an award in hand. It’s a place where students can participate in events and learn about marketing, finance, hospitality, entrepreneurship, and business administration.

     One of the many events DECA hosts is competitions. In past years, American High School hasn’t participated in any competitions due to misbehavior among members in the club. As a result, the competition to San Ramon is a momentous occasion everyone in the club has been looking forward to and prepared for. But how are the events organized?

     Tanya Sridhar (12), the vice president of DECA, explains, “The way these conferences are run is that we have an exam, roleplay, and a written event. So if I’m taking finance, I’m going to take a finance cluster exam and I can pick one event and do a roleplay. Within it are four to five different events to choose from.”

     Unlike a written event and a multiple choice exam someone can study for, roleplays are much more complicated to practice. Roleplays in DECA are a series of real life case studies provided to students in order to creatively think of solutions using industry-relevant knowledge.

     In order to participate in a competition, there are requirements members need to follow. Sridhar explains further, “We have two types of DECA members, one is DECA Spire and the other is DECA CT. The difference is that DECA CT is basically a member taking a marketing or an entrepreneurship elective. Then and only then, you can attend conferences.”

     The conference, according to Vaidehi Karve (11), “…Was a completely new experience. I’ve never been away from home for more than a day without family or friends. Everything was in a very professional setting because everyone was wearing suits and it was a nice experience overall.”

     Competing in events such as these take a lot of preparation. Jagannath Prabhakaran (12), the co-president of DECA at American High School and the vice president of finance for NorCal, elaborates, “Each event consists of a test and an on-the-spot roleplay. These roleplays in competitions only allow ten minutes to prepare and ten minutes to present. So the night before, we did some test prep and the day after, we did some specific prep for the event that we’re doing.”

     Several students normally sign up for a club out of curiosity and to learn. Therefore, teaching and helping members is a crucial job as an executive officer. For Sridhar, she had a time where she saw herself in this person who needed help. She illustrates, “I remember being super out of place in ninth grade so to see him be in the same shoes as me, I knew I had to do something.”

     She continues with a memory, “An executive gave me a fairly simple roleplay, once I did it, they gave me feedback and asked how I felt. I answered, ‘I feel confident’ and they said, ‘Great I want you to feel confident like this for the rest of your high school career and your future.’”
    With this piece of advice, Sridhar wanted to give the same reassurance to the person needing help and saw the results of her actions, “I saw him going through different clusters to see what worked well with him. He attended all the workshops and he found what attracted him the most.”

     She concludes with what her role as vice president means to her, “I’m impacting people’s lives. This story gives me a reason why I am a vice president. DECA plays an extremely important role in my personal and academic life. I was happy that I was able to do the same for someone else.”

     Prabhakaran, emotionally connects similarly with Sridhar, stating, “It’s more than being [in a club] to learn about business. Personally, you can meet more people and interact. Other than the business aspect, I’ve learned a lot about people’s skills and being an officer helps me be involved more with different people.”

     Karve summarized her experience to be, “Very, very surreal. It was an unfamiliar feeling but I had so much fun with my friends. I’m glad that we were able to share that experience.”

     She eagerly urges people to join and advises, “You should definitely go for it. Even though DECA is [centered] around business, it definitely gives you a lot more exposure to other things. Such as behaving in a professional setting and how to be more confident in yourself. So I would say, if you’re considering it, you should definitely join.”

Through team bonding and the things DECA has taught her, Sridhar expresses her gratitude as vice president of the club, “I became more confident with being in DECA, I can talk on the spot and I don’t feel out of place. The club has given me that confidence I didn’t have before.”

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