By Radhika Jain, grade 10
Harker DECA celebrated November (National DECA Month) this year with numerous chapter events intended to bring the school community together and excite members of the chapter for the upcoming DECA competitive season. Aside from hosting numerous activities, Harker DECA also completed the #DECAMonth Social Media Challenge by posting daily on handles, including Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat.
Hosted by the Harker DECA officer team, DECA Launch is a two-day event held Aug. 21-22 for potential new members or returning member of Harker DECA. DECA Launch consists of workshops, activities and lectures to introduce potential new members to DECA, and it gives returning members a head start for the school year. The event is held in the Innovation Center at the upper school campus.
This event allows new members to experience a taste of DECA prior to the school year by giving them a glimpse of all aspects of the chapter. The officer team hosts DECA Launch to educate new members and get them excited for the upcoming DECA year. This year, more than 60 students attended DECA Launch. They had the opportunity to learn about various competitive events, listen to student entrepreneurs, participate in an Idea Challenge, bond with officers and more. Overall, the event encouraged many new members to join DECA.
Ice Cream Social
Harker DECA hosted an Ice Cream Social outside Manzanita Hall after school on Friday, Nov. 3, to kick off DECA Month. An annual event, the Ice Cream Social was the perfect way to end a long week of school. Members of the officer team handed out free ice cream with unlimited toppings for all students to enjoy, which was a well-appreciated treat. The Ice Cream Social marked a great beginning DECA Month, and it brought members of the school community together.
“Kicking off DECA Month, the Ice Cream Social allowed the Harker community to bond with one another on a rainy day,” said Ishaan Chandra, grade 10, director of community engagement. “The line went outside the door, and that was really exciting to see.”
Our largest event of DECA Month was held on Thursday, Nov. 9. Harker DECA collaborated with Harker Spirit to organize a game of dodgeball for the entire student body, held in the main gym at the upper school during lunch.
Many students from the Harker DECA chapter, as well as other students, gathered in the gym to cheer on their classes for spirit points. Freshmen went up against the juniors, while sophomores played against the seniors. Alongside dodgeball, the officer team covered the awareness portion of the event by selling boba from Teaspoon in front of Manzanita Hall. All proceeds went toward the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). Furthermore, we invited MDA representative Victoria Trujillo to come in between games and discuss MDA’s partnership with DECA, as well as to raise awareness for the MDA and present opportunities to get involved.
“Dodgeball was a very enjoyable event for not just students, but also teachers. It was a great opportunity for them to have fun in the midst of their stressful school weeks,” said Shreyas Chandrashekaran, grade 12, co-CEO of Harker DECA. “It was the first time dodgeball was brought back to the school in a few years, and DECA and Spirit were proud to be able to organize it.”
In the dodgeball matches, the juniors ended up winning against the freshmen, while the seniors defeated the sophomores. On Friday, Nov. 17, the sophomores and freshmen competed in a consolation round for third place, while the juniors and seniors played for the championship.
The seniors took first place against the juniors, and the sophomores acquired third place over the freshmen. To encourage students to attend, Harker DECA promoted the event by posting on various social media sites, such as Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook. Furthermore, representatives of the chapter volunteered to say a few words at various school meetings, and a video was made to advertise the event.
Although dodgeball was organized as a way for students to unwind and have fun in the midst of schoolwork, its primary purpose was to raise money for the MDA, a great organization that serves a great cause. Through boba sales, Harker DECA raised about $600 for the nonprofit.
“I really love DECA’s partnership with MDA for multiple reasons, one being the fact there are so many enjoyable ways to raise money,” said Allison Jia, grade 10, director of written events. “I’m really glad that the chapter is also recognizing the charitable aspect of the event through food sales. I think it is a great idea.”
Dodgeball turned out to be an extremely successful event, with a great turnout of students at the games as well as a respectable amount of money raised for the MDA. Through this event, many students were inspired to continue or begin raising money for all sorts of nonprofit organizations. As dodgeball came to an end, many students left feeling motivated to make a difference in the world by contributing toward charities and associations similar to the MDA.
On Friday, Nov. 10 from 3-5 p.m. during our weekly study session, Harker DECA sold limited-edition merchandise from the Harker business and entrepreneurship department programs, including DECA, TEDx, BEcon and more. Held in the Innovation Center, students were able to purchase sweatshirts, T-shirts and other items from previous years at extremely reduced prices. All money raised from this event went toward the MDA. Overall, the Yard Sale was an immense success. Aside from raising more than $250, the event attracted countless students, including many not currently involved in DECA.
“The Yard Sale was a great opportunity for students to purchase business and entrepreneurship merchandise and raise money for MDA,” said Ronit Gagneja, grade 10, director of finance. “It also was helpful in promoting the B.E. program throughout the school, as students in and out of the programs came out to purchase clothes.”
On Friday, Nov. 10 at 7 p.m., members of the Harker DECA chapter traveled to AMC 14 in Saratoga for an annual tradition: Movie Night! This year, the chapter watched “Thor: Ragnarok,” released on Nov. 3. This event was a great opportunity for members to bond with one another and relax with their friends after a long, busy day. Candy was also handed out to the students, and all proceeds from the event went to the MDA.
Mock Conference and Alumni Panel
On Tuesday, Nov. 12, Harker DECA held a Mock Conference and an Alumni Panel in the upper school’s Innovation Center after school from 3-6 p.m.; both events were open to all members of the chapter. The annual Mock Conference gave members a chance to take a practice exam, participate in a roleplay tournament, work on their written plans and presentations, and receive advice from officers and mentors. Since many of the attendees were first-year members, the Mock Conference gave them a realistic taste of their first competitive experience.
Afterward, we hosted an Alumni Panel by Skyping DECA alumni (or inviting them to attend in-person). They discussed their journeys as members of the Harker DECA chapter and the impact that DECA had on their lives in high school, college and beyond. The Alumni Panel was also a great chance for members to learn more on how to be competitively successful.
Middle School Announcement
On Monday, Nov. 13, two Harker DECA officers, as well as our advisor, traveled to the middle school for an announcement regarding the DECA Idea Challenge. Students were told about the logistics of the challenge, the mystery item they had to use, and the potential prizes involved if they win.
Many students were intrigued and immediately started brainstorming as the mystery item of rubber bands was announced. Also, interested students had the chance to ask questions at the end to gather more information about the Idea Challenge and DECA in general. This announcement was the perfect opportunity to encourage entrepreneurships for students to think outside of the box and try something new. Not only that, it encouraged them to consider joining DECA when they begin their high school journey.
Red Cross Assembly Kits
On Monday, Nov. 13 during lunch, Harker DECA collaborated with the Red Cross Club to assemble disaster kits for those bearing losses from the recent natural disasters. Members of the chapter came together to raise awareness for all those affected by the catastrophes. Members of the chapter worked together to assemble kits that included toothbrushes, toothpaste, Band-Aids, hand sanitizer and more. Through this effort, Harker DECA hopes to express its sympathy for those affected by the natural disasters, while also giving back to the larger community beyond just our school campus.
Bagels for Business
On Wednesday, Nov. 15, during the school day, the Harker DECA officer team handed out free bagels from Noah’s Bagels in front of Manzanita Hall, which is our school cafeteria. Alongside the bagels, several other officers provided information about the B.E. program here at Harker and educated students on ways to get more involved. This event helped attract more members to not only the DECA chapter, but the entire B.E. program. Many students left feeling more encouraged to participate in various entrepreneurship opportunities. Furthermore, the bagels were a nice treat amidst the stressful school week, epitomizing Harker DECA’s focus on the school community and student well being.
“I think it was really nice of Harker DECA to provide bagels for students, especially if they were stressed and tired,” said Roma Gandhi, grade 10. “It was definitely something that cheered them up and made their day.”
Christmas in the Park
On Tuesday, Nov. 21 from 10 a.m. to noon, Harker DECA went to Christmas in the Park in Downtown San Jose to decorate our very own Christmas tree. A beloved local tradition, Christmas in the Park encompasses the holiday spirit and features decorations created by local organizations and schools. This year, Harker DECA received a tree to decorate. Members had the opportunity to come together as a chapter and enjoy the holiday festivities by DECArating (decorating) the tree. Our tree, which was DECA-themed, added to the beauty of the park that will be enjoyed by thousands of visitors for the holidays throughout the holiday season.
As the DECA competitive season approaches, Harker DECA continues to prepare at the remaining study sessions and looks forward to having a great year!
About The Harker School DECA
Harker DECA is an International Competitive Business Organization that prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in four fields of business: marketing, finance, hospitality and management. Our DECA chapter integrates classroom instruction, applies learning, connects to business, and promotes competition in order to prepare the next generation to be academically prepared, community oriented, professionally responsible and experienced leaders.