DECA Launch 2014

San Jose, CA – On Thursday, August 14th to Friday, August 15th, forty-three campers [2 juniors, 6 sophomores, and 35 freshmen] along with 14 officers and 2 visiting presidents from Evergreen Valley High School participated in the first ever, two-day DECA kickoff event. It was a great experience for both new and returning members. The purpose of the event was first to invigorate members for the new school year, second to invite new members to our DECA family, and finally to ingrain competitive excellence in our new members. 

Most of the students coming were new members of not only the Business and Entrepreneurship community, but also of the Harker High School Community. Another one of our goals was to try to help students find their way around campus, learn the ropes about upper school life, and give them a head start in business and entrepreneurship. 

We incorporated diHowfferent teaching styles into the event – collaborative activities, lecture halls, personal seminars, keynotes, and experiential role-plays.  

The students started the day at 8:30 AM with registration; they were given a DECA pack with included pens, pencils, personalized binders, flashcards, and nametags. At 9AM, the opening ceremony started in the Nichols Auditorium; they heard multiple testimonies from the CEO and EVP of Harker DECA, Savi Joshi(12) and Chirag Aswani(12); the organizers of the event, Shannon Hong(11) and Sophia Luo(11); the California DECA President, Dustin Chiang; and the former Harker DECA President, Monica Thukral (Class of 2014). 

Then the first teaching event began: the Introduction to Cluster in which students heard a broad overview, then separated into four rotating sections: marketing, finance, hospitality, and management. They had five minutes of icebreaker events and 15 minutes of in-depth lecture, culminating with a Jeopardy Session as a group to review the knowledge. Afterwards, the students had Chipotle burritos for lunch

The second teaching event was a straight lecture hall style “Introduction to Events” during which each lecturer imparted their knowledge with a presentation, did a demonstration, and offered a short interactive portion. This section was geared towards the competitions of DECA

In between the four hours of lecturing, students were introduced to an “IDEA Challenge,” in which students were challenged to think of ordinary items in a new light. We gave the students, in teams of 3-4, wooden popsicle sticks of varying sizes and 300 DECA dollars (fake money). They were to create whatever they could conceive of within the time period with only the supplies (duct tape, glue, fake jewels, markers, pipe cleaners, etc) they could “buy” from our store. We saw items such as a Bowl, iPhone case, hair clip, fan, backscratcher, and skirt. 

The students then participated in a scavenger hunt. They were sent across campus to familiarize themselves with the high school with tasks such as “Find the Krishnamurthi Center” or “How many double doors lead into Main?” In addition, the students had the opportunity to get to know and embarrass all the officers by doing tasks such as “Throw a cup of water on Savi,” “Make a Ring and Propose to Ankur,” and “Pet Sanil’s Hair.” This was one of the students’ favorite parts of the camp.  

Afterwards, the students partook in an interactive game called the “Pit Market,” in which students are each trading commodities and their goal is to corner the market, or having a monopoly on a single commodity. 

That night, the officers participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge because Harker DECA was nominated as a group. They challenged Monta Vista DECA and California DECA officers. 

The next day, the students came in bright and early at 9AM to watch a Keynote Speech about Business and Entrepreneurship from Bala Joshi, the Chairman and CEO of the Bala Joshi Group, past Director of Engineering at Intel, and a graduate of the Stanford Exec. MBA program. 

Then, the students were able to choose two of four career clusters (marketing, hospitality, finance, and management) and attend 45-minute sessions on each. These rotating sessions had an average of a 7:1 student teacher ratio and gave very detailed instructions of how each cluster ties in with their corresponding DECA Event. Each cluster also had an interactive event such as Speech Baseball. The students had pizza for lunch. 

Then, the students were given two sessions of “How to” lectures. The first section pertained to business plans and written events and the second section pertained to presentation and roleplay events. 

One of the last events of the program was a Roleplay Competition, one of the most popular competitions in DECA. They were teamed up in groups of 2, given 30 minutes to prepare for a roleplay situation, and judged by parents and officers for 15 minutes on their solution. An example of a roleplay situation is the following: “You are the Director of Marketing at Comforts Chocolate, a company that prides itself in its constant quality of chocolate. During October, the company sees a gigantic boost in sales due to Halloween. However, in November, the sales decrease by over 50%. Come up with a marketing plan to boost sales in November.” The keys to the roleplay are presentation and innovation, which we taught over the course of the two days. Two teams advanced to the final round, which was judged using live polling

Afterwards, the students were treated to a quick dinner and the closing ceremony in the auditorium. Parents were invited. Students in teams of 3-4 presented their IDEA Challenge final products. They all were very pumped and excited to come up with their product and three slides to talk for two minutes. They were judged by a panel of three judges on the criteria of originality, feasibility, functionality, and presentation. The Third Place Award was for “Most Functional and Sturdy,” the Second Place Award was for “Most Creative,” and the First Place Award went to the “Best Overall.” 

Parents were then treated to a dessert to mingle with the students and officers. Afterwards, back in the auditorium, the CEO, the EVP, the organizers, and Mr. Glass gave the closing remarks and handed out awards. Each student was also given a parting gift of the book Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie, founder of Toms. 

The students that won awards were the following: 

1st Place  - Roleplay

  • Jessica Skinner (9) and Millie Lin (9)

2nd Place – Roleplay

  • Mason Menaker (9) and Tanay Kamat (9)

1st Place – IDEA Challenge

  • Jessica Susai(9), Jessica Skinner (9), Millie Lin(9), and Maya Kumar(9)

2nd Place – IDEA Challenge

  • Gloria Guo(9), Jerrica Liao(9), Sara Pachuri(10), Medha Shah(10)

 3rd Place – IDEA Challenge

  • Vanessa Tyagi(9), Alisa Su(9), Ashna Chandra(9)

At first, I was really nervous, yet curious and excited, about attending this Harker DECA Launch2014 - here was a mysterious program I was about to be plunged into, attending with mysterious students, many of whom I hadn't even met before. But after the first hour or so of the first day, in the midst of the welcoming officers and Mr. Glass, I figured that everything would be alright - and maybe even more than that. Although only a short two days, I learned about marketing, management, and how to give a firm handshake or present a marketing plan for a CEO. I befriended future classmates, poured water on high schoolers, and consumed numerous macadamia nut cookies. I laughed and shared jokes with my teammates while making hair clips/puppets out of popsicle sticks. And during role play finals, I felt the heart-squeezing tension of uncertainty and anticipation, then fifteen minutes later, an astonished sense of a job well done and pride. 

All of this done in two days. What would a year bring?” – Millie Lin(9)

“Harker DECA LAUNCH2014 was really fun and it let me experience a lot of real world business situations. It definitely made me more interested in business and I’m really excited for the new school year!” – Alisa Su (9)

“It was a pleasure and delight for me to give a Keynote Speech on the topic of "Leadership in Innovation and Entrepreneurship" at the Harker DECA launch on August 15th. I was fascinated by the enthusiasm, knowledge and curiosity to learn among the children. I was thrilled to see strong interaction and engagement on the topic. Children asked me questions such as the role of nanotechnology in the vision of things to come, the capabilities and possibilities of advanced computing such as the IBM Watson, how to overcome challenges and make breakthroughs in products and services for the future. I talked to them about values and qualities that make great leaders and also took them through my own journey. 

Later in the day and in preparation for judging the Role Play Challenge competition, I had the opportunity to spend a few minutes at the new Harker Innovation Center. I liked the collaborative work space that fostered creativity in problem solving among children.  During the Role Play Challenge, children showed lots of creativity and ability to think on their feet in solving complex problems that executives and senior leaders would go through in real life business situations.

Continuing to nurture these values of curiosity, creativity and problem solving through the Harker environment will make these children successful in life and create some of greatest future leaders among them.” – Bala Joshi, Keynote Speaker for BE, Chairman and CEO of the Bala Joshi Group, past Director of Engineering at Intel, Harker Parent for Class of 2015

“I really enjoyed the Roleplay Competition because it allowed me to experience a DECA Competition in a friendly, encouraging environment. The pace was really quick, but I loved learning through experimenting and trying out different presentation techniques.” – Joseph Krackeler (10)

“I think at Harker, I am always aware that I am surrounded by amazing people, but this camp really accentuated the brilliant qualities of leadership, academic excellence, and creativity that all Harker students embody. They all rose to the challenge of the roleplay competition and IDEA Challenge. We gave them brief instruction and then just threw them in the deep end; they wowed us with their knowledge and ideas.  I felt the students gained a sense of camaraderie and family with Harker DECA and they started on their track to loving business, innovation, and entrepreneurship. It was a wonderful experience planning this camp with my fellow officers and I look forward to the next year.” – Shannon Hong (11), Harker DECA Director of Communications

“While the scavenger hunt was definitely one of my favorite activities because I loved seeing everyone exploring and having fun, the individual clusters were by far my personal favorite. The attendees started really opening up and contributing to the lectures, and the officers imparted their knowledge. Even though I came home exhausted every night, I am sad the event was over so quickly, and I can't wait to see how much it grows next year!” – Savi Joshi(12), Harker DECA CEO

“At DECA launch 2014 I was able to talk to incoming freshmen, give them tips and tricks not only as a mentor but also as a friend. I got to know a lot of great kids and in just two days I personally saw so many of them evolve and gain confidence and that's what Harker DECA family is all about.” – Ankur Karwal (11), Harker DECA Vice President of Public Relations

“quote” – Haley Tran(10)