As a member of a school club called DECA, formerly known as the Distributive Education Clubs of America, I was able to attend the district competition in Anaheim, California this year.
DECA is a business-oriented club in which members participate in role-plays and tests. The tests are pretty self-explanatory as it comprises business-oriented questions from marketing, emotional intelligence, a customer service mindset, etc. The tests essentially assess one’s factual knowledge of business basics. Students also participate in role-plays where they are critiqued and judged on their demonstration of business knowledge through PIs (performance indicators), which are important key concepts of a specific event/category. Role-plays, in other words, test one’s ability to display important skills, including creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and communications. Essentially, role-plays are how students prove that they can apply business knowledge in real life, in front of the judges.
Although I was nervous about the test, since I had not been studying business for that long, I was more anxious for the role-play because it would require me to prepare my speech in ten minutes, and present it in front of people who had specialized in business. The upperclassmen helped calm my nerves, as they told me that it was okay if I didn’t do that well since it was my first competition. They told me to enjoy this experience instead and highlighted the importance of having fun with my friends.
In the end, this weekend was one of the best times I’ve ever had. I walked to Target with my friends to participate in the scavenger hunt, we had a blast at the team dinner where all the DECA members ate together at Joe’s Crab Shack, we partied in our hotel rooms, and we swam in the swimming pool. I even pulled my first all-nighter there, and proceeded to walk to Starbucks at 6 am the following morning with my friends!
The DECA competition was the most fun I’d ever had at an educational event. It not only allowed me to gain experience, but it also gave me a sense of independence since I was away from my parents for three days in another city. I feel as though joining DECA is one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life, and I encourage all students to participate if possible. DECA allowed me to master countless business terms and principles, and I was especially able to learn and grow from my mistakes after my test and role play results came out.
I also met a ton of people, both at my school and at the competition. I have found myself a family at my school, many of whom are upperclassmen who always make sure to help freshmen with anything they may be struggling with. For instance, upperclassmen were the ones who encouraged me to introduce myself to other students from schools all over LAUSD at the competition, and I’m so grateful to have found them and be surrounded by such a warm and welcoming environment.
The district DECA competition is one of the highlights of my life, and because of this experience, I can’t wait to go to Santa Clara later this year for the state competition!
Sabrina Mo, Grade 9
North Hollywood HGM High School