DECA transitions after Districts

Club struggles to keep members interested


Street signs and medals are set out by the main office for Park’s DECA State qualifiers Feb. 12. These medals were given to the students who moved on from the District competition.

Sam Swisher

After having 18 members of DECA compete in the District competitions, DECA adviser Abby Lugo said she was impressed at how her students have thrived in the virtual environment. 

“The skills my competitors that competed for the first time have developed and created (are) truly outstanding since we focused heavily on interview skills, which was not super helpful in competitions,” Lugo said.

Junior Raquel Schlichting said the virtual format makes it hard for many students to stay engaged.

“Overall it’s hard to stay engaged in anything school related because when you’re at a computer it’s difficult to make things fun, but you get out of it what you put into it,” Schlichting said. “I understand that not everyone enjoys the online format as much, and it does limit some of the possibilities we would normally have.”

Senior and DECA officer Daniel Goldenberg said the club leadership has implemented a variety of solutions to try to keep membership active.

“To keep our members interested we have provided gift card incentives (for) meeting attendance as well as posting on Instagram,” Goldenberg said. “We have made an extra effort this year to bring in interesting speakers that can share their career experiences, and I have found those to be quite interesting.”

Lugo said one way of implementing interesting experiences for students is by teaching about leadership.

“Two of our board members really wanted to start a leadership series for students, so I said, ‘let’s try this out with the DECA club before we petition for it to become a class,’” Lugo said. “Now we’ve come up with some topics that we want to cover over the next four or five meetings, and our first topic will be self-assurance.”

Schlichting said the leadership series is important because it highlights professionals and how they built their careers.

“I am really looking forward to the leadership seminars, it will be interesting to see how that turns out,” Schlichting said. “It could be beneficial for us to hear from what past DECA members have done with their lives, where they’re at now and maybe how DECA helped them get there.”

Goldenberg said the future of DECA should be an enjoyable place for classmates to bond and not solely an educational experience.

“The most important thing going forward is to focus on building the DECA community so that it doesn’t just feel like an academic interest, but so that it feels like a fun group for people to join and hang out with their friends,” Goldenberg said. 

Lugo said next year’s membership is uncertain because so many members are graduating and it’s been hard to recruit members.

“Next year is a fear of the unknown because a lot of our veteran members are seniors and are graduating this year,” Lugo said. “So I wonder what our enrollment will be like as we go into next year due to this year being so different in so many aspects.”