DECA to compete at district meet Jan. 19


Christy Thomas

Senior Gina Geenu studies for the upcoming DECA meet. She is participating in the Financial Services Team Decision Making event.

DECA will have its district meet on Jan. 19 at the Irving Convention Center. This is DECA’s first in-person meet since March 2020. 

There are two types of competition: roleplay and written events. Roleplay events require members to play a role according to a business scenario, whereas written events require members to prepare visuals and a full research paper to bring up to a panel of judges. 

“I’m very proud of how the students have prepared, and we are thrilled to be in-person,” DECA sponsor and Business Management teacher Sherry Gowarty said. “The [team is] able to use their skill sets that they worked so hard on to compete and hopefully win. I hope DECA will bring back a lot of medals and move on to state.” 

Last year, DECA went virtual due to the ongoing pandemic. Members had to turn in videos of themselves instead of going up to the judges in person. Moreover, DECA had a completely new advisor. 

“[The 2020-2021 year] was the first year that DECA was completely virtual,” President Tejaswini Ramkumar Babu said. “We weren’t able to do a lot of our events like our popcorn fundraiser. We also had a new advisor, and I do admit we were a little lost since everything was so new. However, our advisor, Gowarty, helped us so much despite being a new teacher at the school.”

This year, Hebron’s DECA chapter has added more activities to increase involvement since all members are back in person. Additionally, this year’s officers have added a point system to encourage participation in meetings. 

“We decided to add more events and programs to compensate for the lack of everything last year,” Ramkumar Babu said. “We are bringing back our popcorn fundraiser and doing new things like inviting guest speakers, going on a field trip and hosting club socials. We added an involvement point system to keep members accountable. Most people [who don’t advance to state] do so because of a lack of studying, and sometimes, studying can make all the difference.”

 DECA has competitions at the district, state, and international level. Last year, five members made it to the International Career Development Conference (ICDC). In addition, senior Saif Syed became a finalist at the international level. 

“That was an amazing experience,” Syed said. “In my first two years in DECA, I didn’t even advance [to state], and then out of nowhere, I went all the way to ICDC. I was completely oblivious to it all. I remember waking up one morning [because] my phone was blowing up, and everyone was texting and telling me [that I was a finalist.] This year, I want to make it to ICDC again, [and] learn new things and just be the best I can be.”

The biggest change for DECA is in sheer numbers. Last year, it had 65 members. This year, DECA has more than 150 – the greatest number it has ever had. 

“I think our biggest goal this year was to bring back membership, and we definitely did that,” Ramkumar Babu said. “There’s a lot more work to do to accommodate for all those changes, but we are very committed to trying to help our students through all these changes. I think the best part of competition is just the thrill of being in front of a judge and trying to impress them with your performance.”