The Student-Run Newspaper of Townsend Harris High School at Queens College

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The Student-Run Newspaper of Townsend Harris High School at Queens College

The Classic

The Student-Run Newspaper of Townsend Harris High School at Queens College

The Classic

DECA competes at three-day State Career Conference

The+Townsend+Harris+team+at+the+DECA+State+Career+Conference+in+Rochester%2C+New+York.+
Anila Tinaj
The Townsend Harris team at the DECA State Career Conference in Rochester, New York.
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For the first time, Townsend Harris students competed at the 2024 DECA State Career Conference in Rochester, New York. The THHS DECA club, a chapter of the national association Distributive Education Clubs of America, focuses on developing real-world skills such as business, finance, marketing, and entrepreneurship through informative lessons and enriching competitions. After competing at the first-round DECA Regionals in December, 19 team members placed in the top two of their categories and advanced to compete at the state level.

At the statewide conference, DECA teams from all over New York competed through a series of challenges and participated in numerous recreational and social activities. The first day in Rochester included an introductory dinner, a trivia showdown, and an ice cream social with other competing teams. On the second day, students competed in their respective events at the DECA State Career Conference, and on the third and final day, the Grand Awards Ceremony took place.

“We also had the opportunity to attend informative workshops, which really stood out to me as a great opportunity to connect with renowned guest speakers, and is something I didn’t expect going into day two,” said competitor and Vice President of Finance and Fundraising Sumay Jain.

Senior Anila Tinaj, co-President of the DECA club, said, “It wasn’t all just competition, we got to eat dinner and socialize with all the other teams as well. We were able to meet new people and there were workshops, so it was not only academic but also very fun for us.”

Next month, DECA members Rina Chen and Joline Tung, who placed fifth in New York State in the Travel and Tourism category, will advance to the International Career Development Conference in Anaheim, California.

Other participants who placed in the Top 10 of the New York State conference were juniors Chiara Chen and Ren Lama in the Marketing Management category, junior Rajvi Sharma in the Principles of Business Administration category, and seniors Sumay Jain and Simran Singh in the Financial Services category.

The DECA competition featured “roleplays” where students were presented with a business scenario from one of the various categories they could choose from, including finance, sports and entertainment, retail, hospitality, and more. Participants were given a case of a failing business and allocated 20 minutes to develop a persuasive proposal of strategies and plans to resolve the situation, which they then delivered to a panel of judges. This format tests students’ subject-matter expertise and hones their critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving abilities within a competitive setting, alongside 30-50 other teams. Other aspects of the event included a 100-question multiple-choice exam and individual pre-planned presentations.

History teacher and DECA advisor Joshua Krinsky said, “This [experience] provides an outlet for students who want to study business and learn about marketing and entrepreneurship. [DECA is] also a really great community… It is competitive and business in one aspect, but the students also have fun. A lot of them enjoy doing [the roleplays] and think of it as fun and not just work.”

The DECA experience provides students with many real-world skills and experiences that will allow them to excel in their future endeavors.

“The club is very much applicable not only to everyday life but to [potential] careers. We are learning not only business applications but also how to speak publicly, [especially] being able to utilize persuasion to make a point and convince people,” Anila said. “[Most] of our members have not been in a situation where they have had such a time crunch and had to present in front of two completely random judges, so it’s very nerve-wracking but I’m sure that this helped them get over a lot of those fears and feel more confident in themselves and their abilities. A lot of our students, whether they placed or not, came out feeling really good about the presentation and their personal competition, so I feel like they have been able to learn a lot, not only from the club but by doing something that [they have] never done before.”

“While DECA offers a strong foundation in business for students with that interest, participation is open to everyone seeking to hone valuable skills,” said senior Melinda Wang. “The program provides an excellent platform to develop public speaking proficiency and hone your ability to think critically under pressure.”

Sumay said, “The experience has been extremely rewarding, having seen my peers and myself develop skills and expand our knowledge in the business world, while also catering to our own individual interests.”

“I had a great experience even though I’m not advancing to the next conference,” Chiara said. “I think next time we will prepare more for it with more meetings so we can do better at the next [conference].”

For its first year, THHS DECA was incredibly successful and allowed the team to both make a name for itself and learn valuable lessons that participants will take with them to improve even more in upcoming years’ competitions.

“As a newly established chapter at Townsend Harris, this year marked [our] DECA [team]’s first year in competitive business simulations. Naturally, both students and faculty were acclimating themselves to the demands of the program, including the intricacies of case study analysis,” said Melinda. “With this initial experience under their belts, our team is going to leverage our knowledge and confidently tackle upcoming challenges in the following year.”

“Having 19 students advance from Regionals to States in our first year is really impressive, and we had [even] more students [at the competition] than schools who have had DECA teams for years. We also had a couple of students who advanced to the international competition, so it was a good, successful experience overall,” Mr. Krinsky said.

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About the Contributors
Diana Piergrossi, News Editor
Diana is a senior at Townsend Harris High School. Her favorite subjects in school are English and science, and she enjoys reading, writing, photography, traveling, and baking. She has also been playing soccer for ten years and likes volleyball and running.
Faiza Tasnim, News Editor
Faiza is a senior at Townsend Harris High School. She loves to listen to podcasts, read books, watch anime, and practice learning her native language. She also loves to watch true crime documentaries and be scared afterward.
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