BY ALEXIS EPSTEIN
Students enrolled in DECA courses were exposed to all the club has to offer during the fifteenth annual DECA Day on Aug. 21 and 22 in the auditorium. Throughout the day, topics ranging from competitions to travel opportunities and community service were discussed. DECA teacher Jamez Williams said the purpose of DECA Day was to familiarize new members with the program and introduce them to the various opportunities available within DECA.
“At the start of the school year, we are all so excited to kick off the [initiation] process for DECA members as we know the unlimited opportunities they will be given to grow and develop,” Williams said.
Junior and DECA President Sarah Lewis said this sets the tone for what members could expect for the future. Lewis and the other advisers planned the presentation shown to classes throughout the day, as well as a scavenger hunt held during the allotted period allowing members to begin bonding early in the school year.
“Our goal is to open students’ eyes to all the options DECA can offer them,” Lewis said. “DECA is a great opportunity for students to be exposed to the business world so we really wanted to get them enthusiastic about joining.”
During the presentation, the advisers informed students that the Bay’s chapter attends competitions and leadership conferences where various chapters travel the country to bond and build management skills. Junior Natalie Medina is new to the Bay and said all of these activities piqued her interest.
“I love traveling, and seeing all the amazing places that DECA has gone [has] made me excited about joining the club,” Medina said. “Through leadership workshops, discussions and community service, I will be able to network with other DECA students from many different states.”
Members were also introduced to many leadership positions available to them, such as the DECA Leadership Council (DLC). DLCs are junior officers that help run the class and assist the teachers in planning events. They were able to apply on the Bay’s DECA website Aug. 20-24 with short essay questions on the topic of if they have been previous DLC’s, how many years they have been involved and why they would want to become one. There was then an interview process for individuals who applied and proceeded to hire them. Medina said she is planning on applying to become a DLC as she sees this as an ability to gain business exposure early on.
“I have always had an interest in business and can tell the Bay’s chapter is one I want to be as involved in as possible,” Medina said. “This is an opportunity to get closer as the contacts I will make will help me for a lifetime.”
Medina was in DECA at her old school, Sagemont, and she said she is interested in continuing to be a part of the organization at the Bay as the Bay’s chapter is extremely involved and well run.
“DECA Day really opened my eyes to this wonderful program, so now that I’ve actually been given more information, I’m excited to have such an amazing opportunity to join this club,” Medina said.
Lewis said DECA’s main goal this year is to recruit new members. Lewis and the other officers wanted to create excitement in order to increase membership and saw DECA Day as the perfect opportunity to do so.
“The more enthusiasm we build, the more members we gain,” Lewis said. “As President, this is my ultimate goal as I want to expand the club and make it the best it can be.”
Medina was given the opportunity to meet other prospective members as well as returning DECA members during DECA Day.
“It was super cool being able to talk with all the other students in the program,” Medina said. “I actually didn’t know what to expect; leaving the auditorium that day left me even more enthused [than I initially was].”
Lewis said she hoped to make this year’s DECA Day even better than before by using feedback from previous years.
“We wanted to try to be as interactive as possible and engage the students in the information,” Lewis said.
Williams said he hopes to successfully describe the organization to the students and allow them to see all of the dynamic activities DECA does.
“The excitement grows each year, but the expectations stay steadfast,” Williams said. “It is heartwarming to see the students’ development throughout the year.”
After organizing and running her own DECA Day, Lewis said she reminisced back to when she was introduced to the competitions available at her first DECA Day. She said finding out and learning more about these competitions immediately confirmed she made the right decision by joining the club.
“After hearing about the competition opportunities at DECA Day, I was even more enthusiastic about joining,” she said. “My competition experience is one of the things I am most passionate about. You meet new people, learn different business aspects and create memories [that last] a lifetime.”
Even though DECA is just a club, Williams said DECA Day allows prospects tosee the family bond that is formed as members grow, help each other and learn together.
“I love the energy, opportunities and students’ futures and goals that originate during DECA Day,” Williams said. “It’s important that members know we provide a place for them to take their creativity, energy and grit into a package and give them something to go out into the world [with] and be successful.”