This story was submitted by Radha Mehta, grade 10.
From Jan. 11-14, 135 students from the Harker DECA chapter attended the 2021 Silicon Valley Career Development Conference (SVCDC). Due to the pandemic, this conference was held virtually, and students competed by submitting recordings of their events. SVCDC also featured Multiply Your Leadership Workshops and a Harker DECA chapter social to maintain the in-person conference feel. Overall, Harker performed admirably, with 100 finalists and 35 top three winners.
“I’ve seen our chapter members spend hours on Zoom tinkering with their presentations in the online environment, so I was so excited to see their hard work pay off at SVCDC!” said senior Lisa Barooah, Harker DECA co-CEO. “Our competitive analysis showed record competitive success, which hopefully motivates a new wave of dedicated DECA members. From chapter yoga sessions to celebratory DoorDashes, it was great to have a sense of normalcy and enjoy some DECA bonding.”
On Monday, students began their virtual SVCDC experience with the Conference Kickoff, where attendees from around the Bay Area gathered in a livestream of the opening ceremony. Keynote speaker Scott Williams gave motivational advice to the young entrepreneurs in attendance with his wise words of experience. Williams said, “managers tell it but leaders sell it” and “great leadership is less about the leader and more about the ship.”
“I really enjoyed the speech that Scott Williams gave at SVCDC. Even though it was virtual, it was still both a wonderful and engaging experience, especially for the first time attendees,” said Anika Muddu, grade 10, Harker DECA director of roleplays. Despite this conference being held online, the competition aspect went exceptionally smoothly. Students were given two days to record their written and roleplay events, put the files in a Google Drive folder, then turn in the link to the Google Drive folder to the DECA portal.
“I really liked how easy the submission process was; it made the entire conference a lot less stressful,” said Annmaria Antony, grade 10.
After submitting their competitions, the Harker DECA Chapter attended a mandatory meeting where the officer team announced the Chapter Social. This meeting along with the chapter meeting at the beginning of the conference where Muddu went over roleplay skills, mimicked the in-person conference experience.
“Competing in DECA online was a really interesting experience. I learned how to adapt to unexpected challenges and make the most of limited resources, a skill that I will carry with me through high school and beyond,” said sophomore Ada Praun-Petrovic. A week later, from Jan. 25-27, members were required to attend a Multiply Your Leadership event and a judge feedback session. At the Multiply Your Leadership sessions, students participated in a fun trivia game and received tips about becoming a leader. At the judge feedback sessions, SVCDC judges explained to the attendees what they enjoyed seeing in competitions and what members should avoid during conferences.
The Harker DECA Chapter Social took place Jan. 27 and was designed for students to participate in a fun team-bonding activity. Members were allowed to choose between a guided meditation session with certified yoga and meditation instructor Ben Wexler and a poster making activity with Muddu.
“Harker DECA not only participated in an unprecedented event being virtual, but we also had unprecedented results having the most wins overall for the first time in our Silicon Valley District, despite being a small school. I couldn’t be more proud of the officers who helped make the conference the success that it was and for our competitors who demonstrated sound resiliency throughout the process and delivered excellent results. Now we look forward to the state conference. Go Eagles!” said Juston Glass, business and entrepreneurship teacher and chapter advisor.
Members placing in the top three are as follows:
Karan Bhasin, grade 12, Jason Hoang, grade 12; Integrated Marketing Campaign – Event
Melody Luo, grade 11, Elvis Han, grade 11; Integrated Marketing Campaign – Service
Spencer Mak, grade 9, Edis Mesic, grade 9, Ashwin Kuppahally, grade 9; Entrepreneurship Innovation Plan
Smrithi Sambamurthy, grade 10, Anika Muddu, grade 10; Hospitality and Tourism Operations Research
Leisha Devisetti, grade 10; Sports and Entertainment Marketing Operations Research
Margaret Cartee, grade 9; Principles of Business Management
Shreeya Merchia, grade 9; Principles of Marketing
Rohan Varma, grade 12; Automotive Services Marketing Individual Series
Vedant Kenkare, grade 9; Marketing Communications Individual Series
Melody Luo, grade 11, Elvis Han, grade 11; Marketing Management Team Decision Making
Sasvath Ramachandran, grade 11; Personal Financial Literacy Event Second Place
Chloe Lee, grade 9, Kaitlyn Wang, grade 9; Integrated Marketing Campaign Service
Gordon Chen, grade 10; Financial Consulting Event
Zeke Weng, grade 10, Arin Jain, grade 10, Armaan Thakker, grade 10; Independent Business Plan
Andrea Thia, grade 11; Business Growth Plan
Vienna Parnell, grade 11, Alivia Li, grade 11; Franchise Business Plan
Trisha Variyar, grade 10; Business Operations Research
Vardaan Ghai, grade 9, Reza Jalil, grade 9; Finance Operations Research
Anvitha Tummala, grade 12, Elaine Zhai, grade 12, Fonda Hu, grade 12; Hospitality and Tourism Operations Research
Aditya Singhvi, grade 12; Business Finance Individual Series
Gigi Chan, grade 11; Food Marketing Service Individual Series
Vinay Sudarsanam, grade 11; Retail Merchandising Individual Series
Elaine Zhai, grade 12, Fonda Hu, grade 12; Buying and Merchandising Team Decision Making
BB Ajlouny, grade 10, Johnathan Mo, grade 10; Hospitality Services Team Decision Making
Anvitha Tummala, grade 12, Lisa Barooah, grade 12; Travel and Tourism Team Decision Making
Sujith Pakala, grade 11; Professional Selling Event
Sasvath Ramachandran, grade 11; Financial Consulting Event
Annmaria Antony, grade 10, Grace Hoang, grade 10; Independent Business Plan
Mina Okamoto, grade 9; Principles of Business Management
Reshma Kosaraju, grade 9; Apparel and Accessories Marketing Individual Series
Vienna Parnell, grade 11; Hotel and Lodging Management Individual Series
Sujith Pakala, grade 12; Quick Serve Restaurant Management Individual Series
Saavi Kumar, grade 10, Ananya Bammi, grade 10; Financial Services Team Decision Making About The Harker School DECA