Harriton’s Contribution to the DECA State Competition


Following the DECA district competition at Saint Joseph’s University on November 22, 2022, twenty-one of Harriton’s most determined future business leaders advanced to the state competition. Students left school mid-day Wednesday, February 22 on their trek to Hershey, Pennsylvania to compete against Pennsylvania’s top finalists from 11 other districts. Harriton competitors had a blast at their three-day convention to enhance their business skills and network with other students from the state.


DECA stands for Distributive Clubs of America, and is a club in which students with an interest in business compete against other students and pitch their business proposals to judges. At the start of the DECA season, students choose one event to compete in out of 59 different options, and can either sign up for a team or individual event. They also choose to do either a written event or a standard event that includes a role-play and test.


In written events, students prepare a 10-20 page written business plan which is submitted prior to states. During the actual competition, they present a PowerPoint hitting on key components of their plan, and ask for money from the “investors” (judges). Some of the written events skip the district competition and go straight to states.


Standard events also have a part which takes place beforehand: the test. For the state competition, this test was comprised of 100 questions in 60 minutes, which competitors completed before heading to Hershey. The roleplays took place during the actual competition. For team event roleplays, students are given a paper from administrators with a hypothetical situation related to the field of their event. They then have 20 minutes to plan, collaborate, and write down any notes they will need for their presentation. Once the 20 minutes are up, the competitors greet the judges and have 10 minutes to pitch their solutions/ideas to the case study they were given. Students competing in individual events follow a similar routine, but are given 10 minutes to plan and have to complete 2 different roleplays, 5 minutes each. Both the role-play and test are taken into consideration by the judges, but the role-play holds a heavier weight in the final score. 


In addition to the business-related activities at the state competition, DECA also held social dances and workshops with renowned volunteer guest speakers. Harriton exhibited much success at Hershey, with 6 students advancing to the International Competition in Orlando, Florida on April 22-26: Ella Maniloff in Apparel and Accessories Marketing, Sai Nellutla in Marketing Communications, Leila Henry and Hailey Newman in Hospitality Services, and Jason Han and Zach Braunfeld in Business Growth Plan.


DECA is a notable club for aspiring business leaders to experience what a business career entails. Next year, DECA will merge with FBLA— another business club currently at Harriton. Students can choose whether they want to participate in both “sectors” (DECA and FBLA), or just one. As a DECA member of 3 years, I highly recommend students interested in business, or just in improving their professional and negotiation skills, to join the business club next fall!