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What is DECA?

Explore new possibilities and a better education with the DECA program.
District Competition at the DCU Center, picture taken by Mrs. Cummins. Featuring Brian Russo, Koda Mannino, Kingston McGee, Chris Campbell, Mady Raskett, Tighe Rogan.

You may have heard of a program called DECA at Sutton High School, but what exactly is DECA and what do they do? 

Standing for Distributive Education Clubs of America, DECA is a non-profit student organization whose mission is to prepare upcoming leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management.

DECA prepares students for a great future in business and teaches them many skills including: leadership, public speaking, critical thinking, problem solving, communication, collaboration, teamwork, and creativity. 

State Competition in Boston where the SHS DECA team competed

DECA advisor Mrs. Cummins states, “I think the biggest component is the interpersonal skills. Just gaining that confidence, talking to adults, eye contact, and going into something confident and selling your idea.”

The skills you learn through DECA can be applied into any career you may choose. What is it like to be a finance manager, sports marketing, entrepreneur, leader, change maker, or an influencer? DECA can help answer these questions.

By joining DECA, students may have an edge in college applications and help with funding their college education. DECA awards more than $200,000 in scholarships each year through corporate partners and other college organizations. Scholarships range from $1,000 – $5,000 dollars per student. 

DECA’s student members typically participate in business-related challenges and learning experiences. At DECA meetings, members practice “role plays.”  There, students practice scenarios, figuring out how to best solve problems and advance their skill sets.

Through workshops and competitions, students discover and explore different career passions and aspirations. They also gain confidence, business vocab, and interpersonal skills by competing in regional, state, and national competitions. 

There are two main parts to the competition. First, a written test is taken before the District Competition to qualify. The test consists of 100 multiple choice questions that teams will take separately, and scores will be averaged. 

The second part of the competition is the ‘Role Play’ practiced at meetings. Contestants will take on a specific role and act out a business scenario, such as a marketing pitch or a customer service complaint. Judges evaluate how competitors respond and adapt to the scenario. 

According to Mrs. Cummins, “You have a certain amount of time at the competition to prepare your skit. Then you go in and sit in front of business professionals and sell them your pitch, or how you are going to solve the problem. You are supposed to take on the role of the Human Resources Director or the cashier for customer service complaints.”

Left to right: Tighe Rogan, Brian Russo, and Mrs. Cummins at the National DECA Convention

At these competitions, members are able to receive valuable feedback from industry professionals which helps them grow. These competitions offer competitive experiences, traveling, and numerous leadership opportunities. 

Last year was the first time that Sutton participated in DECA and it was a huge success! Six students qualified for the state competition. Brian Russo, who graduated last year, placed in the top ten at internationals for one of his role plays. 

That success translated into a growing popularity at Sutton High School. Last year, a little over 20 students attended meetings regularly. At the first meeting this year, there were over 40 kids.

Interested in joining the 227,000 DECA members around the globe? The group welcomes all grades and would like to grow the freshmen class specifically. 

Talk to Mrs. Cummins and join their Google Classroom. Meetings happen twice a month in the evening after school in Room 223. Make sure to stay tuned to morning announcements for further information. 

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About the Contributor
Elizabeth Reid-Eriksen
Elizabeth Reid-Eriksen, Staff Reporter
My name is Elizabeth and I am a freshman at Sutton High School. I play JV for the girls soccer team, and have been playing soccer my entire life. I am also a very artistic person and love to draw and paint. Additionally, I love to read, listen to music, take long walks, ski, and play the piano. I am so excited for my first year of high school.

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    Ted McCarthyOct 7, 2023 at 9:01 am

    Hi Elizabeth & Ana – Nice article that captures what DECA is all about. Did you know that it was a student in Innovations class that first had the idea of bringing DECA to SHS? Ms. Cummins made that student dream happen!