DECA students decorated at districts

More than 3 dozen students punch their tickets to Hershey

Lexi+Dorfner+proudly+holds+up+her+first+place+trophy+for+Human+Resources+Management.

Emily Smoller

Lexi Dorfner proudly holds up her first place trophy for Human Resources Management.

A total of 39 Bethel Park DECA members placed at DECA Districts held at Duquesne University on Tuesday, Dec. 1, and are heading to states in February.

BP DECA students pose for a group pic at Duquesne University. (Emily Smoller)

DECA is a club with students interested in a career in business and “Changing the Game.”

DECA strives to prepare emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in the realms of business. The four main points of DECA are marketing, business management and administration, hospitality and tourism, and finance.

The official DECA officials describe their theme for this year as “ Changing the Game” and “Get the Edge.”

“It is such a nice mix of new and veteran DECA members!” said BP DECA advisor Mrs. Emily Smoller. “We have such a phenomenal group of seniors this year.  The first-year students really remind me of our seniors with their interest, performance, and excitement for DECA!”

After months of preparation for this competition, DECA members were finally prepared to compete in the 2022 districts.                                                 

The buses arrived shortly after 2nd period. After the 45-minute bus ride, the future entrepreneurs arrived at Duquesne.

Students are on their way to Duquesne University for DECA Districts. (Emily Smoller)

At 10:45 a.m., members were greeted with a warm welcome and remarks. This first event was held in Section A in the Power Center.

To begin, Mrs. Emily Smoller, PA DECA District 3 Board Rep, began by thanking everyone for attending and explaining the events for the day. 

Next, Mr. Richard Longo, Director of The Small Business Development Center at Duquesne University, spoke about how The Small Business Development Center can truly grow your business. 

“Now one or many of you could possibly become the next Bill Gates,” Longo told the students.    

He truly created positive and powerful energy all throughout the room.

To close, Lexi Dorfner, PA DECA District 3 representative, closed with an empowering speech about how only WE can change the game.

“This conference is your moment and only you can change the game,” said Dorfer during her speech. “Sell yourself, sell your ideas, and give it your all. Enjoy today and prove that you can get the edge.”

Everyone put their all into their competition and that’s the kind of energy Bethel Park needs to change the game. I am looking forward to seeing even more of this energy at the state conference when all of the written events people join us.”

— Lexi Dorfner

“I am absolutely ecstatic about Bethel’s participation at districts,” said Dorfner. “Everyone put their all into their competition and that’s the kind of energy Bethel Park needs to change the game. I am looking forward to seeing even more of this energy at the state conference when all of the written events people join us.”

In the Shepperson Suite, Judges began to start and prepare themselves for the roleplays. Zach Wells provided an orientation to the judges while they were eating their lunch.

Duquesne was kind enough to provide the students and judges with a buffet of chicken, macaroni and cheese, a fresh tossed garden salad, and an assortment of desserts and beverages.

Finally, between 11:30 a.m. -1:45 p.m., role-play preparation began. Students in each event were placed in a certain event and given a scenario that they must solve.

DECA members had exactly 15 minutes to prepare and read over their situation. Students were supplied with unlimited scratch paper to show how they can solve the issue.

After the 15-minute timer had run out, members rushed to the judges’ room to present their ideas. The students had 10 minutes to prove their point and hit all of their performance indicators. 

Students prepare their presentations. (Emily Smoller)

 

Students present their ideas to the judges. (Emily Smoller)

After their role-play, the students were permitted to enjoy lunch provided by Duquesne. After everyone was done eating, students at Duquesne took members on a tour of the campus explaining certain courses you could take and what to major in for business. The tour consisted of touring Rockwell Hall and dorms around campus.

To conclude the day, members gathered back in Section A for the award ceremony. 39 students placed and won a trophy.

“I was extremely impressed with everyone’s performance and professionalism at the event!” said Mrs. Smoller. “After a couple of COVID years, the number of participants and level of competition is going to be at its highest in years.  Our students did a fantastic job in this atmosphere and I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do at the state level! 49 out of the 69 students that participated in districts were first-time competitors!”

Our students did a fantastic job in this atmosphere and I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do at the state level!”

— Emily Smoller

DECA members who place first, second and third in individual events go to states. DECA teams who place first or second in team events also go to states.

1st place winners
Ava Armstrong – Marketing Communications
Gavin Barzan & Jack Hartman – Business Law & Ethics Team
Mia Coccagno & Mason Miller – Entrepreneurship Team
Dom DePasquale – Accounting Applications
Lexi Dorfner – Human Resources Management
Connor Esposito – Business Finance
Tanner Friedberg – Sports & Entertainment Marketing
Anthony Karner & Tommy Smith – Sports & Entertainment Team
Mallory Kuntz – Principles of Hospitality & Tourism
Ashley Perich – Hotel & Lodging Management
Marquise Ross – Business Services Marketing
Owen Sivetz – Personal Financial Literacy

2nd place winners
Emma Bianco – Restaurant & Food Service Management
Maggie Booth – Apparel & Accessories Marketing
Belinda Bova – Principles of Hospitality & Tourism
Ben Cannon – Personal Financial Literacy
Catherine Carberry – Principles of Finance
Laura Casaldi & Samira Gorman – Travel & Tourism Team
Andrey Kolev – Principles of Business Administration
Dominic Ollio – Principles of Marketing
Patrick Romito – Sports & Entertainment Marketing
Nathan Sokira – Marketing Communications
Martina Tatalias – Retail Merchandising
Dan Torres – Quick Serve Restaurant Management
Jeon Varghese – Food Marketing

3rd place winners
Audrey Campbell – Retail Merchandising
Owen Campbell – Business Services Marketing
Ava Cerro – Principles of Finance
Bella Dudjak – Hotel & Lodging Management
Sara Impellicceiri – Human Resources Management
Cooper Kicinski – Sports & Entertainment Marketing
Malea Massaro – Principles of Business Administration
Olivia Mooney – Apparel & Accessories Marketing
Sadie Orie – Automotive Services Marketing
Shane Turoski – Quick Serve Restaurant Management
Josh Woodman – Food Marketing

Additionally, Arabella Cicero was elected to serve as the PA DECA District III Representative for the 2023-2024 school year!

Click here to see photos from the event.

DECA is a very inclusive organization; therefore, if a student doesn’t make it to states, they are eligible to complete a project to attend the conference.

Students show off their trophies at the DECA Districts competition at Duquesne University. (Emily Smoller)

 

“The State Conference is always a highlight!” said Mrs. Smoller. “We will have a large number of students getting to experience the event for the first time and it will be the last state competition for our strong contingent of seniors!”

“I would have to say that my favorite thing about states is the ceremonies!” said Dorfner. “I have only had one in-person states and the vibes at the ceremonies are like no other. Everyone there is so excited and ready to compete and win and that energy is almost infectious. Not to mention, I walked into states last year knowing that I would be on stage talking as a state officer this year.”

This year’s state competition will take place in Hershey, Pa. To win, you must complete a 100-question test based on your event and either a roleplay or a project presentation.

A roleplay is a business/marketing scenario given to you based on what event you are participating in.

From there, you have 15 minutes to come up with a solution based on the problem given to you.

Examples of some events are Hospitality and Tourism Professional Selling, Restaurant and Food Service Management, Sports and Entertainment Marketing, Retail Merchandising, Hotel and Lodging Management, and Marketing Management.

From there, you have 15 minutes to come up with a solution based on the problem given to you. Members are then taken to the judges’ room to present.

If the students are able to execute all of their performance indicators on point they are given a high score. An example of a performance indicator is strong eye contact, clear communication and having a firm handshake.

“States is such a wonderful experience for the students!” said Mrs. Smoller. “ I like to see how the students really come together and get to know one another at the event.  The first night at states students are always lending an ear to provide feedback to other students’ presentations and roleplay prep.  We do really become a DECA family!”

Those who place at states will also get the opportunity to compete in the international competition that will be held in Orlando, Fl later this year.

District 3 Representative and BPHS junior Lexi Dorfner is also running for PA State President this year!

“I am so excited to run for president!” said Dorfner. “I am planning on starting my social media campaign in the second week of January. My entire campaign is focused on assisting the members and advisors by offering virtual workshops and office hours for all members and by starting a new advisor mentorship program. So basically to wrap that up, remember to Leap with Lexi for PA DECA State President!”

You can follow her on her Instagram @deca.lexi.

DECA is a great opportunity for students to learn more about business and marketing, learn communication skills, and make many new friends!

“I think that students will get to learn more about public speaking [through DECA],” said Dorfner. “Presenting in front of judges at conferences really helps you learn so much about how you speak and it teaches you how to adapt your speaking when in intense situations.”

Presenting in front of judges at conferences really helps you learn so much about how you speak and it teaches you how to adapt your speaking when in intense situations.”

— Lexi Dorfner

“I’m hoping [students] will gain confidence in themselves and also skills that will be useful regardless of their career field, such as problem-solving, public speaking, report preparation, collaboration and innovation,” said Mrs. Smoller.

In summary, DECA did a phenomenal job at districts and Bethel Park wishes good luck to everyone competing at states and nationals!