This article was written by Radhika Jain, Harker DECA director of communications.
From March 2-5, 84 students and six chaperones from The Harker School DECA chapter traveled to the Anaheim Marriott to compete in the 2018 California State Career Development Conference (SCDC).
At the conference, students competed in events, attended workshops and networked with students from throughout the state. Harker performed respectably, with 27 overall finalists. Thirteen of those finalists also qualified for the International Career Development Conference (ICDC), to be held in Atlanta in April.
“With the State Career Development Conference being my last conference as a member of Harker DECA, it was definitely memorable for me,” said Ashna Chandra, grade 12, Harker DECA co-CEO. “I’m excited to see the outcomes of chapter members in future years, and I know they’ll be successful in whatever they pursue.”
Members placing in the top eight are as follows:
Andrew Sun, grade 9, Principles of Finance
Nishka Ayyar and Riya Gupta, both grade 11, Business Law and Ethics Team Decision Making
Aditi Ghalsasi, grade 10, Advertising Campaign
Erin Liu, grade 11, Business Growth Plan
Emma Andrews, grade 9, Principles of Business Management and Administration
Rishi Dange, grade 10, Accounting Applications Series
Evan Cheng, grade 10, Business Services Marketing Series
Naveen Mirapuri, grade 10, Food Marketing Series
Alyssa Huang, grade 10, and Enya Lu, grade 11, Financial Services Team Decision Making
Vignesh Panchanatham and Ashna Chandra, both grade 12, Learn and Earn Project
Aditya Singhvi, grade 9, Principles of Finance
David Feng, grade 10, Marketing Communications Series
Bryan Wang, grade 10, Retail Merchandising Series
Aditi Ghalsasi, grade 10, Principles of Hospitality and Tourism
Arnav Joshi and Nikhil Sharma, both grade 10, Business Law and Ethics Team Decision Making
Sayon Biswas and Suraj Pakala, both grade 11, Entrepreneurship Team Decision Making
Zara Vakath and Ronit Gagneja, both grade 10, Sports and Entertainment Marketing Team Decision Making
Shania Wang and Enya Lu, both grade 11, Public Relations Project
Arushi Saxena, grade 9, Innovation Plan
Claire Luo, grade 9, Principles of Finance
Anay Karwal, grade 10, Automotive Services Marketing Series
Ashna Chandra, grade 12, Quick Serve Restaurant Management Series
Michelle Si, grade 9, Financial Consulting
Jeffrey Liu, Rakesh Nori, both grade 10, Hospitality Services Team Decision Making
N Wang and Andrew Sun, both grade 9, Innovation Plan
Arun Sundaresan, grade 10, Business Services Marketing Series
Ramesh Nori and Jeffrey Liu, both grade 10, and Alisa Su, grade 12, Independent Business Plan
On Friday, students had a chance to relax and study before examinations later that day. From 4-8 p.m., students took their respective tests and gathered soon after for the grand opening session in the Marquis Ballroom.
Saturday was the first day of competitions, and students performed their role-play events throughout the day. Competitions finished around 4 p.m., and students had the options of going to Disneyland or Knotts Berry Farm, or staying at the hotel.
On Saturday, students were required to attend one workshop hosted by keynote speakers, as well as take one Protégé exam. These exams are a great way for students to be recognized on stage. Students from Harker DECA who were recognized on stage for their Protégé exams were Aditya Singhvi, Anvitha Tummala, Helen Zhu, Stephanie Shen and Elizabeth Szeto, all grade 9; and Rishi Dange, David Feng, Shomrik Mondal, Allison Jia, Jessie Wang, Bryan Wang, Arun Sundaresan and Martin Bourdev, all grade 10.
“I took the insurance exam, and I found it pretty interesting,” said Zhu. “I’ve never really taken a test of that sort on that topic, so it was a different experience for me.”
Along with those events, there was also a room for Downtown DECA in the Anaheim Marriott, where state candidates campaigned, businesses hosted booths and students took their Protégé exams. In light of the recent tragedy in Parkland, Fla., Harker DECA set up a banner in Downtown DECA for students to write notes of encouragement towards the Marjory Stoneman Douglas DECA chapter.
“In order to commemorate those who have been affected by the recent shooting in Florida, we organized a campaign to raise awareness,” said Jia. “I’m really happy with the outcome of it, and I hope this banner can brighten up the students’ days a little.”
Sunday was written events day, and students presented their written projects to a judge. Similar to Saturday, they were required to attend another workshop as well. After students finished their written presentations, they had down time throughout the afternoon to do homework, attend workshops and hang out with their friends.
To prepare for these events, the Harker DECA officer team had organized various study sessions after school to give students the opportunity to perfect their competitive skills and build confidence. Held one to three times a week, the officer team as well as chapter advisors and mentors were available to help students with their written events and role-plays.
In the evening, Harker DECA gathered in the Marquis Ballroom once again for the grand awards session as well as the closing ceremony. New, this year, mini awards and grand awards were presented together. In total, Harker DECA performed admirably, with a number of teams called up to the stage and qualifying for ICDC.
“Being on stage was amazing and stressful at the same time,” said Anay Karwal, grade 10. “I felt nervous when I was walking up, but the support from my chapter definitely calmed me down. It was one of the best and most surreal moments of my life.”
After awards concluded, the closing ceremony began. The California DECA state officer team for the 2017-18 year said their goodbyes. The new state officer team for the 2018-19 year, including Harker DECA’s very own Enya Lu, took an oath of commitment to always support and serve California DECA.
As the closing ceremony finished, members of California DECA had time to hang out with friends and attend a social dance before curfew. With the conference coming to a close, California DECA cherished these last moments together.
Overall, Harker DECA had a very successful and enjoyable conference, as students were able to hone their competitive skills in their events, learn new things from motivational speakers, and network with other students from around California. Harker DECA looks forward to the next SCDC in San Diego in March 2019.
In preparation for the International Career Development Conference in April, qualifiers have the time to prepare to face the best of the world! Stay tuned for more updates on ICDC.
“At this year’s SCDC, students were given a variety of opportunities to broaden their horizons in business and entrepreneurship and try something new,” said Juston Glass, Harker DECA chapter advisor. “I am extremely proud of all members of Harker DECA, and I really hope students can utilize the skills they learned in future events and conferences.”
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.
Contact information: To learn more about this story, please contact Radhika Jain, director of communications 20RadhikaJ@students.harker.org.