By Elaine Zhai, Harker DECA director of communications
Over 100 students from The Harker School DECA chapter traveled to the Anaheim Marriott to compete in the 2019 State Career Development Conference (SCDC). Harker performed respectably, with 44 teams as overall finalists and 21 top four winners.
“SCDC was a very formative experience for our chapter this year,” said Shania Wang, grade 12, Harker DECA CEO. “It was really rewarding to see so many of our freshmen place and qualify for ICDC and seeing their overall excitement. All of the attendees were able to really learn from it and, although they may not have been able to place, they scored well and really showed that everything they worked for this entire year really paid off. I think as a whole, it was a very great experience for our chapter and it was a pretty good way to end the year for most people competitively.”
Members placing in top 10 are as follows:
- Michelle Si and Helen Zhu, grade 10, Marketing Management Team Decision Making Event
- Ronit Gagneja, grade 11, Automotive Services Marketing Series
- Naveen Mirapuri, grade 11, Business Services Marketing Series
- Radhika Jain and Allison Jia, both grade 11, Community Service Project
- Sasvath Ramachandran, grade 9, Personal Financial Literacy
- Rishab Parthasarathy, grade 9, Principles of Finance
- Rohan Varma, grade 10, Principles of Marketing
- Thomas Rainow, grade 11, Automotive Services Marketing Series
- Aditya Singhvi, grade 10, Business Finance Series
- Andrea Thia, grade 9, Entrepreneurship Business Growth Plan
- Mahi Kolla, grade 11, Entrepreneurship Individual Series
- Claire Luo, grade 10, Business Finance Series
- Jacqueline Au and Stephanie Shen, both grade 10, Buying and Merchandising Team Decision Making Event
- Nishka Ayyar and Riya Gupta both grade 12, Business Growth Plan
- Enya Lu and Shania Wang, both grade 12, Entrepreneurship Team Decision Making
- Rishi Dange, grade 11, Financial Consulting Event
- Arvin Nidadavolu and Sujith Pakala, grade 9, Finance Operations Research Event
- Pranav Varmaraja, grade 9, Principles of Business Management and Administration
- Tina Zhong, grade 9, Principles of Finance
- Radhika Jain, grade 11, Quick Serve Restaurant Management Series
- Aditi Ghalsasi and Allison Jia, both grade 11, Travel and Tourism Marketing Team Decision Making Event
- Nishka Ayyar and Riya Gupta, both grade 12, Business Law and Ethics Team Decision Making Event
- Michelle Si, grade 10, Entrepreneurship Franchise Business Plan
- Sayon Biswas and Suraj Pakala, both grade 12, Entrepreneurship Team Decision Making
- Ronit Gagneja, grade 10, and Enya Lu and Shania Wang, both grade 12, Learn Earn Project
- Sinaya Joshi, grade 9, Principles of Marketing
- Rishi Dange, grade 11, Accounting Applications Series
- Anay Karwal, grade 11, Automotive Services Marketing Series
- Ishaan Chandra and Mahi Kolla, both grade 11, Entrepreneurship Promotion Plan
- Clarice Wang, grade 9, Principles of Hospitality and Tourism
- Andrew Sun, grade 10, Business Finance Series
- Luisa Pan, grade 10, Financial Consulting Event
- Andrea Thia, grade 9, Principles of Business Management and Administration
- Sidharth Dudyala and Anay Karwal, both grade 11, Public Relations Project
- Thomas Rainow, grade 11, Professional Selling Event
- Lisa Barooah and Anvitha Tummala, both grade 10, Travel and Tourism Marketing Team Decision Making Event
- Bryan Zhang, grade 10, Finance Operations Research Event
- Naveen Mirapuri, grade 11, Integrated Marketing Campaign
- Ishaan Parate, grade 9, Principles of Marketing
- Phil Han, grade 11, Hotel and Lodging Management Series
- Fonda Hu and Anvitha Tummala, both grade 10, Hospitality and Tourism Operations Research Event
- Dhruv Saoji, grade 9, Principles of Business Management and Administration
- Elaine Zhai, grade 10, Professional Selling Event
Competitive events began early on Friday morning, and teams made use of the leisure time before their competitive events to practice and receive some last-minute feedback from their officers and mentors.
After finishing their role-play event, members were given the rest of the day to explore Anaheim, visit Disneyland or Knott’s Berry Farm, or stay in the hotel to prepare for their written event the next day.
Early Saturday morning, all participants then competed in their respective written events until 4 p.m., and students then had some free time before the chapter reassembled. Members could visit Downtown Disney or grab some dinner and relax. The chapter reconvened at 6 p.m. for the Mini Awards. In total, with a number of teams staging for their role-plays and the test scores in their events, the event was a huge success for Harker DECA.
Furthermore, throughout the weekend, all participants were required to attend two workshops and participate in the Protégé examination, where many of our competitors placed and were recognized on stage. These students were Rishi Dange, grade 11; Michelle Si, grade 10; Karan Bhasin, grade 10; Ishaan Parate, grade 9; Suraj Pakala, grade 12; Gigi Chan, grade 9; Dhruv Saoji, grade 9; Arun Sundaresan, grade 11; Stephanie Shen, grade 10; Richard Hu, grade 11; Vishnu Jaisim, grade 11; Shomrik Mondal, grade 11; Clarice Wang, grade 9; Arushi Saxena, grade 10; Allison Jia, grade 11; Nishka Ayyar, grade 12; Radhika Jain, grade 11; William Chien, grade 9; and Jason Hoang, grade 10. Workshops covered topics from productivity to communication skills, and members were able to gain more experience and practice in business and entrepreneurship from seasoned professionals on top of their competitive events.
“I attended a workshop about confidence and found the speaker incredibly engaging and interactive,” said Vienna Parnell, grade 9. “He provided realistic and helpful tips on improving speaking skills, and I’m excited to apply this new knowledge to DECA and my academic life.”
Afterward, California DECA offered entertainment in the DECA activity room, including a dance, arcade games and several stations. Participants could network with students from schools throughout California to build and strengthen their networks.
On Sunday morning, the Grand Awards began, and Harker DECA performed respectably, sending 44 teams to the stage.
“States this year was really fun, and I had a great time competing and spending time with my friends,” said Mirapuri. “I’m really glad that my work paid off and I got top 10 in both my events. I’m super excited for ICDC [International Career Development Conference]!”
In preparation for States, Harker DECA held weekly study sessions in the Innovation Center, where students were able to practice their role-plays in front of an officer, receive live feedback for their written events, and take mock exams to hone their skills and perform to the best of their capabilities.
“I had a lot of fun at states this year! I’m really proud of [me and ] my partner for all that we achieved, and the work that we put in throughout the school year really showed in this conference,” said Zhu. “I’m looking forward to attending future conferences and continuing DECA for the next few years.”
After the Grand Awards, Lu, VP of Silicon Valley DECA, announced the termination of her service and reflected on her experience. “States was a really nice ending to my state officer team. I’ve learned to look at it is as something I’ve completed, not something that I’ve lost. I’m really proud of Harker DECA, and I love that they cheer on every Harker competitor.”
Overall, SCDC for 2018-19 was an enormous success and a rewarding experience for all Harker DECA competitors and officers. From this competitive conference, all participants gained useful preparation skills for the upcoming States competition and left feeling accomplished and inspired to continue with their DECA journey.
To prepare for the International Career Development Conference in April, Harker DECA will hold individual practice sessions with advisor Juston Glass. With the conference being held in Orlando, Fla., attendees will have the opportunity to face strong competitors from all across the world! Stay tuned for more updates about ICDC.
“This year’s SCDC was a perfect way to finish the 2018-2019 competitive season,” said Juston Glass, Harker DECA chapter advisor. “I am extremely proud of all of our members and the effort that they have put into their events and DECA these past few months. With ICDC only weeks away, I am so excited to see students prepare and grow as competitors. Go Harker DECA!”
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.
To learn more about this story, please contact:
Elaine Zhai, director of communications