DECA leaves state tournament with big returns

Five students qualified for internationals with many placing in top ten

Mia Sherin

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DECA, New Trier’s resident business club, returned from their state conference on March 11th with success.

With a handful of students snagging a spot in the top ten of their event and five students placing in the top four, sponsors and students alike were proud.

The five students were Seniors Michelle Buyer, Grant Smith and Drew Kepes, and Sophomores Declan Graver and Connor Hester. By placing in the top four, these five students qualified for Internationals and have the opportunity to continue to compete on an even higher level.

Junior Maya Mozolewski has been an active member of DECA since sophomore year, and this year she attended State for the first time.

For her event, Mozolewski competed with partner and fellow junior Emma Olson in the Travel and Tourism event.

She expressed that she loved the event, but one hiccup occurred when the event ran out of judges, so two security guards from the hotel filled in.

However, this setback did not affect her overall experience, and one highlight of hers was the team atmosphere.

“Everyone hypes each other up. New Trier is always the loudest and most obnoxious team when cheering, so if one person in our group gets called up on stage, the whole section screams and cheers. We are always excited whenever a fellow trevian does a really good job,” she said.

Junior Alex Boudos feels that it has been a very positive learning experience. He said, “DECA is great because it gives you an opportunity to learn about the business world through workshops and speakers we run.”

At State, Boudos competed in the Sports and Entertainment Marketing event with junior Quinn Sheehan, who he originally joined DECA with back in their sophomore year.

Boudos spoke more about the experience of the State Conference:

“State is great experience because I got to go down with Quinn and get real world business problems, think of solutions, and give presentations with limited time and loads of pressure.” He added, “Also, going down with friends and great teachers makes the experience very fun too.”

Not only did the students enjoy attending this conference and cheering on their peers, DECA advisors Bob Bollweg and Melissa Duffy were very proud of the team and the work ethic they demonstrated.

Bollweg said he was most proud of “seeing the kids wake up and being dressed professionally, networking, and having that real life business experience is pretty unique to DECA and is valuable.

One person who Bollweg was specifically proud of was senior Michelle Buyer.

“It’s her third year in DECA, and the last two years I think she got top ten, but never actually medaled. She finally got third place, and I’m proud of her,” he said.

One downside that Duffy highlighted was the limit on the number of students the club is allowed to take. They have experienced a lot of growth recently, but the team is only allowed to bring 40 students to State.

“That’s the one thing that’s really hard,” Duffy said. “ We can’t take everyone who wants to go.”

The schedule for the weekend was packed, and the business began upon arrival on March 9th when the students took an hour long, 100 question cluster exam. The following day began with the economic exam, and later on Friday the students participated in two role plays.

In this role play, the students receive a certain scenario and are given 30 minutes to prepare an answer or best solution. Then, they present this solution in front of a judge, who is typically someone from the community in that area of business.

The students are scored based on performance indicators, such as presentation skills or how their solution relates to marketing.

Now back from this intense competition, the team members clearly have numerous achievements.

From placing in events to cheering on their teammates, DECA left with a feeling of success, and Boudos concluded that State “was a really great experience to better our business skills.”

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