DECA members to attend first conference of the school year


Courtesy of Harker DECA

DECA students will travel to Arizona today to participate in a mock conference before the official competition season begins. This event will allow DECA members to participate in roleplays as well as practice written events.

by Kaidi Dai and Nina Gee

DECA members are attending their first conference of the year, the Western Region Leadership Conference (WRLC), in Phoenix, Arizona today and this weekend.

Unlike in previous years, the students will not be attending the Leadership and Competitive Excellence (LACE) conference due to the fact that the Silicon Valley District Action Team, which hosted the LACE conferences, was dissolved last year. The WRLC conference will essentially have the same components as LACE did, but on a much larger scale.

“This one is actually held by national DECA rather than LACE, which is just Silicon Valley, so it’s going to be chapters from all over the western region,” vice president of public relations Shania Wang (11) said. “It’s just going to be all of us coming together and just kind of getting ready for the DECA year and getting pumped and everything.”

WRLC is a three-day leadership and career development conference promoting business knowledge and presentation in a professional setting. It will include chapters from all across the West Coast, including Ariz. and Nev.

“[WRLC] is a non-competitive conference where chapters from the western United States come together to partake in various workshops and activities. Students also get a chance to network with other schools from different areas and explore the city of Phoenix,” director of communications Radhika Jain (10) said. “I’ve never been there, but I am really looking forward to meeting new people from out of state and exploring Phoenix.”

Last year’s LACE conference, which took place from Nov. 11 to 13 in Santa Clara, included a speech from guest speaker Chef Jeff Henderson, author of “Cooked”; various workshops, including one hosted by upper school business and entrepreneurship teacher Michael Acheatel; conference roleplay event workshops and a dance.

The WRLC conference will host workshops presented by experts in their respective professions and a roleplay conference for students to network with other schools.

“[We got to] practice testing by working with mentors and judges that would judge you like they would in a real competition,” director of membership Mahi Kolla (10) said. “I was able to get a lot of practice from there and I got my first real roleplay score, which was really good, so I knew what to improve on for next time.”

This will be the first DECA conference for freshmen and new members of DECA.

“[I’m excited for] learning more about DECA and learning what it feels like to be at a real DECA conference,” Anvitha Tummala (9) said.

Out of the over 100 Harker students involved in DECA, around 30 will be attending, mostly new members of DECA. All DECA officers will also be attending.

“For a lot of students, because it is a usually high school only program, they haven’t had that exposure like they’ve had for athletics, or debate, or performing arts before, so this is very new to them,” Juston Glass, lead advisor for DECA, said. “It is definitely a confidence builder. It’s an energizer for them to come into DECA and say, ‘Wow this is an amazing program and something I want to commit my time to and dedicate myself to.'”

DECA’s next conference will be the Silicon Valley Career Development Conference, their first competitive conference of the year, which will take place from Jan. 5 to 7.

This piece was originally published in the pages of the Winged Post on November 16, 2017.