As anyone who has attended DECA states knows, it is no small event. Countless hours of preparation, stress, and a few tears by both members and advisors all lead up to three jam-packed days of competition and ceremonies at Harrah’s in Atlantic City. A week typically marked by exhaustion, adrenaline, hour long Starbucks lines, and running around a hotel in slippers holding heels, was reduced to a few hours spent recording presentations. In comparison to what members and chapter leaders were used to, it was certainly underwhelming.
Over the week of February 8th-12th, students had to schedule a time to get dressed in their business attire, join the RHS DECA google meet at the top of the classroom page, and compete in either their roleplay or paper presentation. DECA did a great job at simulating the experience of competition to the best of their ability, given the constraints. However, it was nowhere near the event it once was. This was extremely disappointing to many DECA members, especially chapter leaders and seniors.
The resilience that was displayed by RHS DECA was inspiring to watch. In the face of so much challenge and something we love so much being flipped upside down, the chapter officers carried on. Below are the reactions from some participants.
Thoughts from RHS DECA Members/Advisors
Matt Demeulder (Co-President): “Although it’s different, DECA is trying to get people involved. It is nice to have some sort of closure and some sort of senior season.”
Patrick Demeulder (President of Papers): “The hardest part of virtual DECA is that it’s hard to get people motivated. If there is less of an incentive to do well, DECA can feel like a chore which it shouldn’t.”
Kaylin Marshall (President of Roleplays): “Virtual DECA definitely lacks a lot of the perks that come with regular DECA experience such as trips and bonding/networking experiences, but the virtual DECA season showed us what it’s like to be part of the new virtual workforce.”
Julie Masri (Chapter Delegate): “Although virtual DECA was not an ideal situation, it was still very engaging as the leaders of the club did all they could to make it seem as normal as possible. Additionally, it was much less stressful as it was only a few hours of time rather than 3 full days.”
Karen Mendez (Chapter Advisor): “I was incredibly impressed with thy way our chapter members were able to adapt to the virtual competition. I know it was more difficult for our teams to navigate preparing and presenting via a meet/zoom, but all students did a wonderful job. I believe our students were well prepared for both the tests and presentations by our chapter officers. It was fun to be able to view the recordings and see all the effort put forth by our students. That is an element of the virtual competition that I loved. I do miss being at Harrah’s and the chapter growth that occurs over the three days, but I am incredibly proud of our chapter. I look forward to watching the sessions as a chapter and finding out who has qualified for ICDC.”
Graphic: Sofia Lee