DECA Business Club Prepares for Inaugural Competition


Photo Courtesy of Toni Smith

After months of preparation, the DECA team competes in its first competition in Anaheim where they competed against other schools located in Orange County.

Claudia Lin, Staff Writer

Donned in formal suits and professional attire, Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) members direct their attention to their meticulously planned business proposals along with heaps of papers displaying practice tests in preparation for their first ever regional competition on Jan. 10. Housing approximately 125 members, DECA is one out of two of the competing business clubs at Portola High which both fall under the same heading of Portola Business, possibly the largest club on campus. 

For the past few months, many students who are aspiring entrepreneurs have been working diligently with the objective of doing exceptionally well in their assigned categories. Overall, the team performed exceptionally well for their first competition as they achieved 14 top awards with 17 students competing. 

“Even though a lot of us were competing in individual events, preparing for the written exams and presentations together was extremely helpful as we were working together and talking to others who are experiencing the same thing,” sophomore and director of public relations Megan Sha said. “It created a common ground where I realized that I am not alone, and this was what motivated me to work hard.”

Because of DECA’s mission to train students for a lifetime of leadership, most of the categories that the competitions showcase emphasize innovative thinking and public speaking. The DECA competition also offers events for students to partake in a wide array of topics from hotel management to business law and ethics.  

Although students were excited for their first competition, there have been several obstacles its original members have had to overcome in previous years in order to compete. 

“Last year we were very lost and had no direction as a club,” junior and vice president Saoud Moon said. “When we founded this club, we couldn’t even receive a chapter number because we weren’t a four-year school, so we couldn’t participate in competitions and go further as a club.”

While the team encountered several barriers in the past, this year they gained math and computer science teacher Toni Smith, an experienced DECA adviser. Smith has advised Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) for the past 25 years and DECA for four years. Using experience from her past endeavors, she has supplied valuable guidance for the team and played a vital role in their evolution as a club.  

“Some obstacles would be that [DECA] is really new to everybody,” Smith said. “Nobody has really grasped what it’s all about yet, and so you actually have to go and experience it because you never know.”

With a new knowledgeable adviser and ambitious club members, the DECA team strives to continue building an everlasting foundation for themselves and future Bulldogs interested in the field of business.