By Elaine Zhai, Harker DECA director of communications
Harker DECA celebrated DECA Month this year with multiple chapter events to allow members to bond with each other and build excitement about the upcoming DECA competitive season.
Furthermore, Harker DECA also completed the #DECAMonth Social Media Challenge, posting daily on all our media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
During lunch on Nov. 29, Harker DECA partnered with Harker’s Red Cross Club on campus to assemble kits that held common toiletries, including toothbrushes, toothpaste and hand sanitizer, as well as stuffed animals to give to children from low-income families. DECA officers initiated the effort to help those who are less fortunate, and the packages were donated to the Safe Kids Committee of Silicon Valley Red Cross to hand out. Everyone enjoyed this simple opportunity to make a big difference in the community.
Teacher Thank You Gifts
To show appreciation for support from the faculty, Harker DECA individually thanked staff members by handing out customized travel/toiletry bags to every faculty member on the upper school campus. The gifts included a personalized note thanking teachers for their unending support and explaining about DECA. The small gift brought smiles and joy to all those who received them and also reinforced the strong relationships that Harker DECA hopes to maintain with the school community.
Volunteering for Thanksgiving
The Harker DECA officer team donated items, including ponchos, socks, water bottles, washcloths and more, for people in need to Haven to Home, allowing Harker DECA to make an impact on the greater community and also fulfill Harker’s community-oriented pillar. This was a great way to have fun while serving others and emphasized selflessness of leadership, especially in the times of need considering the recent California wildfires.
Basketball Knockout (Students vs. Faculty)
In late November, Harker DECA partnered with Harker Spirit to coordinate an upper school campuswide basketball knockout competition between the faculty and the students. Students were given the opportunity to represent their grades and play for spirit points as part of an ongoing competition between the classes. Furthermore, DECA sold Cream ice cream as part of its initiative to raise funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).
To encourage more students to attend, Harker DECA’s public relations team promoted the event by posting on all our social media handles, including Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook. At school meetings, several DECA officers also announced this event and encouraged attendance among all grades by pinning fliers around the school advertising the event.
Although the basketball knockout competition was the largest event of DECA Month, the club held various other fundraisers, and handed out free bagels and Dippin’ Dots. During the week of the basketball competition, Harker DECA earned a net profit of about $2,500. All proceeds were donated to the MDA.
“Hosting a basketball knockout game was an amazing way for us to raise awareness for MDA,” said Anay Karwal, grade 11. “Because our school community loves basketball, many students came out to play and watch, and we were able to talk about MDA’s mission and how they could help. Selling ice cream and bubble tea also allowed us to raise a lot of money, which will go towards muscular dystrophy research. As a whole, not only was the event an immense success, but we also were able to work for a good cause.”
Mock Conference and Alumni Panel
On Nov. 17, Harker DECA hosted an intramural mock conference to provide students with an opportunity to gain experience and receive valuable feedback to better their knowledge and skills for the Silicon Valley Conference. The mock conference was the perfect opportunity to actively engage in their skills and apply entrepreneurial thinking. By inviting industry professionals to act as judges, students were able to hear real-life experiences and lessons. Harker DECA also invited six Harker alumni to speak on Nov. 16 about the knowledge that they acquired from DECA and how their experiences have helped them in college and beyond. Focusing on their personal journeys with entrepreneurship, students were able to interact with previous members and ask them questions about DECA and other business and entrepreneurship programs that Harker offers.
“The mock conference was an extremely interactive and engaging experience in which participants could receive feedback and advice from some of the best in the business on their role plays and soft skills,” said Elvis Han, grade 9.
Bagels for Business
On Nov. 15, Harker DECA handed out free bagels in front of Manzanita Hall along with pamphlets about opportunities to become more involved in different entrepreneurship programs around the campus and in general. This event helped attract students who are not currently involved in Harker’s business and entrepreneurship programs, and many students were encouraged and inspired to explore and participate. Moreover, the bagels were a welcome treat during a stressful weekend, contributing to Harker DECA’s purpose of improving our community and student well-being. Each attendee left with a happy stomach and an eagerness to become more actively involved in business and entrepreneurship.
Middle School Announcement
On Nov. 12, three Harker DECA Officers and their advisor traveled to the Harker middle school campus to announce the DECA Idea Challenge during a school meeting. Students learned of the logistics of the challenge, the potential prizes involved, and the mystery item that they were required to incorporate, which, for the 2018-19 DECA year, is paper clips! Interested students were given a chance to ask the DECA officers questions about the Idea challenge and DECA in general. A great opportunity to introduce entrepreneurship to prospective high school students, the Idea Challenge encouraged students to consider joining DECA in the future. The announcement left many students excited to explore entrepreneurship opportunities as they submit innovative proposals.
On Nov. 9, Harker DECA promoted the program by providing the community with previous DECA merchandise and inciting excitement for the upcoming DECA year. Selling the vintage clothing offered an opportunity to recycle rather than waste while also fundraising for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Furthermore, the yard sale helped spread DECA’s brand image; after purchasing old sweatshirts and other clothing, students were often spotted wearing these items around campus. As a whole, this event allowed us to promote DECA in our upper school community and help the students by providing lower priced, quality clothes.
“I bought a hoodie from the DECA yard sale for $8. I had a lot of fun and now I can rep my DECA merch,” said Devanshi Mehta, grade 12. “It was a really smart way to earn revenue after last year’s season as well as get rid of excess quantities of merchandise. Go DECA!”
Ice Cream Social
On Nov. 2, Harker DECA hosted an ice cream social after school outside Manzanita Hall from 3-5 p.m. to mark the beginning of DECA Month. All students were invited to drop by for free ice cream with unlimited toppings in order to refresh themselves and relax after a long day. Bringing all members of the community together, the ice cream social allowed the DECA Officer Team to network with students and introduce some of the business and entrepreneurship programs that Harker offers.
“The ice cream social this year really allowed for the Harker DECA community to bond,” said Anvitha Tummala, grade 10, director of written events. “It was great to see so many excited Harker DECA kids and was a lot of fun!”
On Aug. 18-19, more than 65 students attended Harker DECA’s fifth-annual DECA Launch, an event to introduce DECA to prospective members and to provide an overview of The Harker School’s business, economics and entrepreneurship department. Through alumni panels, detailed presentations, guest speakers, mock tournaments and interactive activities, students received a realistic idea of the upcoming DECA year. Furthermore, DECA Launch also featured the Innovation Challenge, which invited participants to create an innovative solution to solve a real-world problems. The products that teams developed included a virtual fitting room app, climate change-solving oil drill, and Tinder for roommates, among many others. As a whole, DECA Launch succeeded in exciting students, especially new members, for the new year.
“Through the numerous activities that we have planned, DECA Launch provides a great opportunity for students to become familiar with not only DECA and the B.E. department, but also the upper school as a whole,” said Shania Wang, grade 12, Harker DECA’s CEO. “This year, we introduced a lot of new changes based on feedback from previous years, which allowed us to host the best possible event for all of the students. We also had the most attendees compared to previous years, so I’m excited and hopeful for a successful 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.