A Harker middle school DECA team earned first place in the United States in a global business competition and other Harker DECA teams distinguished themselves recently at the Silicon Valley Career Development Conference.
The middle school DECA team, which ranked No. 1 among elementary and middle school teams nationwide, will represent America in the global finals of DECA’s Idea Challenge. More than 1,700 teams submitted entrees.
In the Idea Challenge, teams have only eight days to complete a business project. This year the students had to find an innovative, feasible and sustainable use for old newspapers. The teams of three or four students then presented their idea in a one- to three-minute YouTube video.
Ajay Madala, Ethan Choi and Andrew Chavez, all grade 6, fashioned a pencil pouch out of newspapers and created a persuasive sales video. The budding Harker entrepreneurs will compete with a team from the United Arab Emirates for global idea domination.
DECA is a worldwide organization that prepares students for careers in marketing, finance and hospitality management. Harker has a robust DECA program and Harker students shine consistently in the many DECA competitions and activities.
To see the top middle school idea team in the U.S., visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTUqqPJtBDk
2015 Silicon Valley DECA Conference
Harker DECA students returned triumphantly from the Silicon Valley Career Development Conference, with 42 students making it into competition finals and 20 of those students finishing the competition in the money.
Three Harker students were also elected to regional leadership positions. Shannon Hong, grade 11, was elected executive vice president, Sophia Luo, grade 11, vice president of communication, and Haley Tran, grade 10, vice president of operations.
Out of 28 events in which Harker students participated, they garnered seven first-place finishes, three second-place finishes and three third-place finishes. Those wins were by 42 of the 90-plus Harker students who attended, so it was a real team effort! Harker had the fourth-most wins among the more than 1,100 students from nearly 20 Silicon Valley schools who participated.
Almost half of Harker’s wins were in the top three in their categories. Members placing in the top three were as follows:
International Business Plan: Shannon Hong, grade 11; Sophia Luo, grade 11; Leo Yu, grade 12
Travel & Tourism Team Decision Making (TDM): Hong, Luo
Entrepreneurship Written Alexis Gauba and Riya Chandra, both grade 10
Business Service Marketing: Gauba
Personal Financial Literacy: Ray Xu, grade 10
Marketing Communications TDM: Jeton Gutierrez-Bujari and Glenn Reddy, both grade 12
Entrepreneurship Innovation Plan: Peter Wu and Arnav Tandon, both grade 10
Marketing Communications TDM: Manthra Panchapakesan and Simran Singh, both grade 12
Entrepreneurship Written: Lucas Wang and Ria Gandhi, both grade 10
Fashion Merchandising Promotion Plan: Evani Radiya-Dixit, Meilan Steimle, Sneha Bhetanabhotla, all grade 10
International Business Plan: Aathira Menon and Natasha Santhanam, both grade 11
Principles of Marketing: Mona Lee, grade 9
Apparels & Accessories Marketing Individual Series Event: Felix Wu, grade 12
Advertising Campaign: Rahul Mehta, grade 9
The team stayed at the Marriott Hotel. The conference kicked off Friday night with opening remarks, followed by a talent show called the SV Factor emceed by Harker’s Luo. The winners of the talent show were offered the opportunity to “pie” the officers of SV DECA, and Harker’s Shannon Hong and Haley Tran took the cream pies in the face.
The 1,100 students gathered Saturday morning for their competitive events, followed by elections for the next Silicon Valley District Action Team. Harker had three candidates in the running and all were elected – Hong, Luo and Tran. Saturday culminated in a dance where students relaxed after the full day of competing and learning.
Awards were handed out over breakfast on Sunday.
The experience was a great one for DECA members. “Silicon Valley DECA is a great event for new members, especially because it introduces our members to the DECA experiences and gets everyone pumped for States and ICDC,” said Gauba, Harker DECA Director of Technology.
“I loved networking and meeting new friends from all over the Silicon Valley,” said Jessica Skinner, grade 9. “SVCDC was an amazing event, and I felt like I was finally where I was meant to be.”
There was a note of nostalgia among seniors, for whom this was the last local event. “I can’t believe that this was my last SVCDC!” said Savi Joshi, grade 12, CEO of Harker DECA. “It felt like it went by so quickly, and I finally understand how much DECA means to me and how much it’s given me. I’m going to miss this next year.”
The state DECA Conference takes place Feb. 26-Mar. 1 in Santa Clara. Harker students will compete there with thousands of their peers from all over California.