Defining DECA At Hills


At Pascack Hills, there is a club for everyone, and for over 135 students, DECA is the club for them. Now in its fourth year, the Pascack Hills DECA club has proven to be extremely popular. Getting up to speed on the wide array of things that first-time DECA participants should know before competing is an important step toward a successful competition.


So, what’s at stake? A DECA Nationals win will bring high honor to the school and the competitors. But, winning at Nationals starts with winning locally, and rolling forward with positive energy into Regional competitions. Regionals and States, the two local competitions, will occur over the course of the next few months beginning in January.


The business competition has gained such positive recognition that it has consistently attracted more new members every year. On January 3rd, Regionals will be hosted at Ramapo College – all members of the club must attend to compete in the roleplay category and then hopefully advance to States, where Regional winners face-off for a chance to move up to Nationals. Sam Snedeker, now a senior at Pascack Hills, placed third in Nationals last year and is excited to compete this year. She recalled her experience at Nationals with excitement.


DECA Nationals was such a great experience! It was so cool to be a part of a competition as big as DECA and to have the opportunity to meet people from all around the world. Ms. G, Mr. Henry, and all of the students from PHHS made the competition so much fun and full of memories,” she said.


While people can write a paper that goes directly to States, DECA does require everyone to do a roleplay at Regionals if they want to be able to present their paper at States. To explain in the simplest way, a watered down version of a DECA role play is a situation that people are given based on their topic, an example topic being Buying and Merchandising, then are evaluated by judges based on how well their response to the situation is.


For the papers, which are not a part of Regionals, there are multiple length papers that teams from 1-3 people can write depending on the topic. For teams, some papers are 30-pages. It is easy to want to jump right into the world of competition, but one should definitely make sure they know what they’re doing ahead of time. If they do, it is sure to be an amazing and educational experience.

“DECA is an excellent way for kids to further their business interest by competing in multiple areas. Marketing, finance, and sports and entertainment are some very popular ones,” said Corin Gamgort, the supervisor for DECA.


   To prepare for Regionals and the test that goes with one’s score, Gamgort advises that students, especially first-time DECA competitors, take practice tests about their topics. Practice tests are available on the DECA website, and each member receives an ID number so that they can log in and take multiple tests. There is a test that competitors must take if they are doing a roleplay, and for Pascack Hills, test dates are between December 5-7. These test grades contribute to someone’s overall score.


“I am a little nervous for the test because it is my first year competing in DECA, but I know if I study and use the practice tests, I will be fine,” freshman Liz Mashini said.


Only one category, entrepreneurship, does not have practice tests online because it is relatively new. Larissa Aquaviva, a freshman who has never competed in a DECA competition before, is excited to compete in the solo role play for the Entrepreneurship category.


“I am excited for the experience to solve problems and do a relatively new category so that I am later able to share my experiences” she spoke with excitement.


For freshmen and all first-timers, Regionals may seem intimidating, but senior and one of the many student advisors for DECA Dillon Blowers spoke of how the competition is very fun and not as intimidating as it seems.


“Realistically all kids who go for the first time will be a little nervous. You just don’t know what to expect,” he said. “But all of my experiences at Regionals have been amazing. My advice: just enjoy it.”


After Regionals, those who move on will head to States in Atlantic City, which is even more chaotic and difficult. After States, there is Nationals, which this year is taking place in Atlanta, Georgia on April 21-24.


When asked how she would define Regionals, Ms.G smiled and laughed, “organized chaos is the best way.”