Virtual Enterprise and Empowering Entrepreneurship Compete at State Career Development Conference


Haniya Hassaan

Juniors Jasmine Davis and Haniya Hassan and senior Jana Malek celebrate their win on qualifying for the International conference with their project about pure water filtration in Pakistan.

Seniors Jana Malek, Jenny Zhang, Yan Dong and juniors Jasmine Davis and Haniya Hassan from Virtual Enterprise and Empowering Entrepreneurship qualified for the International Career Development Conference in Florida on April 22-25 after competing at the DECA State Career Development Conference in Anaheim on March 3 to 6.

Forty-four students prepared and crafted business plans for two competitions: a written test and role play.

“We had so many students who were surprised at how well they did,” business teacher Katherine Dillon said. “The entire business class did some of the prepared projects as a class project, and some of them didn’t intend to win, and seeing them go on stage was so cool.”

The business students participated in integrated marketing, finance, entrepreneurship, international business, hospitality and tourism, according to Dillon. The students also presented business plans on local issues, such as the polluted water in Pakistan, according to Dillon.

“Before, I feel like we were unmotivated, and now we have grown and felt inspired to be motivated based off the dynamic at the competition,” competition participant and junior Haniya Hassaan said. “We were able to communicate better and bond really well together.”

The four-day competition was near Downtown Disney, according to Hassaan.

“We showed a lot of growth in our performance as a school with how we scored in our events,” senior Aslesha Chandra said. “Since going to dinner and lunch, and even going to Downtown Disney, we also did some workshops, and it was an overall fun experience where we bonded together.”

Two groups plan to go to the international competition and are currently preparing through multiple choice practice, practice role play and revising their business plan, according to Dillon. 

“Over three thousand students came to the conference,” Dillon said. “It was great to see all the students connect with people from the Silicon Valley and the Bay Area, and they all were very impressed with each other.”

Dillon said that she hopes to start a school-based business next year and is currently planning to host a DECA mini-conference in which every student at Portola High can participate and learn about business.