The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

DECA Sectionals Leads to Heartfelt Moments, Lessons and Awards!

All overall DECA winners.

Niles West’s DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) went to sectionals on Jan. 26 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. Before sectionals, the participants took a 100-question test about their cluster, which is the specific career group they’re in. This includes marketing, finance, hospitality, management, entrepreneurship and personal financial literacy. The chapter took 86 students, of which 28 of them were medalists, meaning they placed first through third on their test or case. There were also 17 overall winners, who took first through third place in their event as a whole.  

In DECA competitions, there are three categories: role-plays and case studies, prepared events and online simulations. Sectionals were a role play, which is when students are presented with a business problem or prospect that they have to fix or make decisions about. 

The team has been preparing for sectionals by studying for their tests, having mock roleplays and using resources provided by DECA advisors. DECA advisor Tricia Brown says that next year she wants to provide her students with even more opportunities to improve their skills. 

“For next year’s sectionals, something I’m aiming to do differently is to incorporate more practice sections before and after school. We are also trying to recruit more young people to get involved with DECA because the more time and practice you get in DECA, the better you’ll do in it”, Brown said. 

For some seniors, like DECA officer Mia Kalcina, their last sectional competition was a chance to show how much they’ve grown. 

“Sectionals gave me more confidence, which is a nice change from my anxiety reaction to sectionals from previous years. I’m really proud of my work this sectionals, specifically in my role plays I was able to do pretty well because I’ve had a lot of experience in my cluster. I also really enjoyed being able to help out the underclassmen, and sectionals felt like a full-circle moment that allowed me to see how much I’ve grown in DECA,” Kalcina said. 

Kalcina is in retail merchandising and got third overall, second for her test, and first for one of role plays. 

Sectionals also creates core memories of pride for students. 

“One of the proudest moments for everyone in DECA is when after all the student’s award sessions come back to our room and just watching the students walk in, and their faces when they have medals around their necks is just utter joy and triumph,” Brown said.

For people wanting to join DECA, but are intimidated by the prospect of an academic club, senior and DECA officer Joslin Zakharia offers some advice. 

“My advice to people just starting out in DECA is to not be scared, be confident, play to your strengths, and prepare. If you didn’t do so great in this competition it’s alright because there’s always next time. Don’t make one bad experience make you quit DECA. DECA is so worth continuing because you’ll make a ton of new friends, be a part of a community, and have a lot of fun,” Zakharia said. 

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