UPDATE: March 21, 2013
Michaela Kastelman, whose run as DECA Silicon Valley president ends in March, was recently awarded an Applegate DECA Scholarship worth $5,000. She will receive the scholarship, which is sponsored by Hilton Worldwide, at the DECA International Career Development Conference in April.
During the first week of the new year, 77 students from the Harker Business Club attended the Silicon Valley Career Development Conference hosted by the California state association of DECA, a nonprofit organization that prepares students interested in pursuing careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management.
The conference presented an opportunity for students to receive feedback from judges (one of whom was Head of School Chris Nikoloff) on their business plans and to brush up on their presentation skills and learn how to respond to real-life situations. There was also a competitive element to the event, as students participated in contests that involved role-playing or written tests. In all, Harker students won 14 trophies and several medals, with Harker teams and individuals earning eight top-three finishes.
Andre Jia, grade 12, and Brian Tuan, grade 11, took first place in the team Marketing Communications competition. Saachi Jain and Brinda Perumal, both grade 11, were the second-place team in the Business Law and Ethics event; juniors Allison Sun and Emily Lin earned second place in Sports and Entertainment Operations Research; Emily Wang, grade 12 took second place in individual Business Finance; Jennifer Dai and Katie Gu, both grade 11, took third in the same event; seniors Tiphaine Delepine and Rachel Yanovsky took third in Travel and Tourism; Kevin Susai and Rohit Agarwal, both grade 12, placed third in Sports and Entertainment Marketing; and senior Neeli Gadagottu finished third in Restaurant and Food Service Management.
The event was a special one for student and current DECA Silicon Valley President Michaela Kastelman, grade 12, who gave a heartwarming farewell speech to the attendees. Her tenure as president will end in March, as she graduates this year. Meanwhile, Sophia Luo, grade 9, ascended to a new role at DECA Silicon Valley after being elected secretary and treasurer for next year.
“I think that Harker was really successful, especially since a lot of our chapter is made up of freshmen and sophomores,” Delepine said. “Of course, we are still learning and we hope to do better at States!”
Delepine noted that the regional event was viewed primarily as an opportunity to train for the state competition in March, where the top three written test competitors and top four role-players will head to the international conference in April.