DECA students find success at State Conference


Mrs. Smoller

DECA Finalists proudly hold their trophies.

Tommy DiRienzo, Staff Writer

Last week, over 90 BPHS students competed at the PA DECA State Conference in Hershey, Pa. Of the BPHS students competing in Hershey, almost half were finalists (40) and three students were tabbed as medallion winners.

Twenty-five students advanced to the DECA International Career Development Conference (ICDC) in Nashville, Tenn. “DECA Nationals,” as it is known by students, will take place April 28- May 3.

“I could not be more proud of this group of students! They continue to set the bar higher and higher each year with their performance!  I believe this is the hardest working group of students that I have had the pleasure of working with!” said Mrs. Smoller.

Senior Mark Vighetti oversaw the conference as the 2019-2020 PA DECA State District III Representative and junior Lucia Coccagno was named as a 2020-2021 PA DECA State Officer and she will serve as the PA DECA District III Representative.

Vighetti was also awarded a $750 PA DECA Scholarship.

Seniors pose after attending their fourth straight DECA state conference.

The first-place winners were Gabrielle Dunn (Independent Business Plan), Sarah Gilliam (Hospitality and Tourism Operations Research), Caleb Shook (Human Resource Management), Alyssa Sholder and Riley Evans (Sales Project), and Riley Evans (Female Model).

Senior Riley Evans said, “Alyssa and I have been partners for the past three years and last year she qualified for nationals. I was unable to attend, so to be able to go to Nashville my senior year is really exciting!”

BPHS also boasted three medallion winners which means they earned one of the top three scores in their event for their test or role play. The winners were Caleb Shook (Human Resource Management- Test and Role Play), Christian McClaine (Test and Role Play), and Isabel Burke (Integrated Marketing Campaign- Test).

Mrs. Smoller said: “As a teacher, it was so wonderful to see their commitment to their projects and preparing for their role play events.  We now have a group of 33 students that look forward to competing or attending leadership academies at the International DECA Conference in Nashville, Tenn. the last week of April.  This will be DECA’s last conference in Nashville as we have outgrown the city.  We look forward to networking with the other 20,000 students and advisors that will be attending the conference and to also check out some of the historical music sites in the Music City!”

Pennsylvania DECA has more than 4,700 students and develops them for various business careers such as marketing, finance, management, and more. Through in-class instruction and real world problems, Pennsylvania DECA helps students stay connected and increase there business knowledge. Someone who helps BPHS students expand their “DECA” knowledge is Mrs. Smoller, who last year, won DECA advisor of the year.

“Mrs. Smoller is always thinking about different ways that she can help every single person do well. She doesn’t just focus on one group, she helps everyone. She knows details about every single group doing a project and is constantly doing everything she can to help,” said Evans.

BPHS students are looking forward to going to Nashville and adding other trophies to their trophy cases.