It’s that time of year…DECA season! During the first week of March, the Ridgewood High School DECA chapter, headed by Mrs. Mendez, embarked on their annual trip down to Atlantic City to compete at the New Jersey DECA State Career Development Conference (SCDC). During the three days, 101 RHS students presented their role plays and papers in both solo and team events, all vying for a spot at the International Career Development Conference (ICDC) in Nashville, Tennessee.
RHS performed exceedingly well this year, coming second in the state following Northern Highlands Regional High School. The top sixth teams or individuals from each event advanced to ICDC. The RHS chapter had around 40 ICDC qualifiers, with the following competitors/teams placing first in their category: Matthew De Meulder, Danny Weispfenning, and the team of Charlie Healy and Nathan Fallin. Sofia Lee, a junior chapter officer, was one of the qualifiers. “After a crazy ride it was amazing to feel like our hard work paid off and we were able to qualify for nationals! It was a great experience to be able to stand on stage and feel proud of the work we did.”
In addition to the chapter’s amazing competition results, two students also chose to run for state office. The NJ state office is composed of seven officers who host events statewide, one being SCDC. Junior Nicholas Suppiah, a candidate for Northern Region Vice President and sophomore Emily Truszkowski, a candidate for Public Relations Vice President, both ran amazing campaigns. Running for state office was a lot of hard work for the candidates, and Ridgewood is extremely proud of both of them! Katie Hu, our NJ DECA State President, had an amazing run this season. “States was super bittersweet for me this year. I was super ecstatic as both my teams placed well, the conference ran smoothly, and the members seemed to have a great time! On the other hand, it was also upsetting as this was my last time competing and something I’ve been a part of for the past 4 years is coming to an end.”
In the end, Emily Truszkowski won the position of Public Relations Vice President, the icing on the cake for the RHS chapter after days of domination. Ridgewood is now on a 4 year streak of having an officer on the state action team.
However, within a week after the state conference, many New Jersey high schools had revoked their entry into ICDC due to COVID-19. Unfortunately, on March 13th, the national DECA board announced that the 2020 ICDC competition would not take place in light of the health and safety concerns for students, judges, and advisors.
This was a terribly disappointing day for the chapter as so many members worked all year on their projects and presentation skills that led them to ICDC. There were many tears cried, especially by our graduating seniors, who would miss their last opportunity to compete with the RHS chapter. Nevertheless, members and advisors ended this year’s competition season on a high note, reflecting on the chapter’s stellar performance at SCDC and the bonds created amongst chapter members throughout the year. Until next year, RHS DECA!
Kaylin Marshall and Emily Truszkowski
Graphic: Sofia Lee