A summary of Harker DECA's experience at ICDC 2023!
San Jose, California – DECA Month, “the ultimate celebration of all things DECA,” occurred this November, and Harker DECA embraced the spirit of the month through participating in the social media challenge, attending the Western Region Leadership Conference, and hosting various chapter campaigns. Throughout the month, Harker DECA’s Instagram account (@harkerdeca) posted a graphic each day, responding to a different DECA-related prompt. Additionally, the chapter hosted school outreach events (Donations for Dares, Down Set DECA, Dine with DECA, Eagle Entrepreneurs), shared alumni success stories, organized community outreach activities (B&E Bootcamp, DECAthlon, Sweatshirt Design Contest, Pumpkin Parcels), and held a food drive community service event in partnership with Harker Key Club.
“DECA month this year was super successful!” said VP of Public Relations Shreeya Merchia (11). “From fundraising campaigns to professional development opportunities, the chapter definitely showed their DECA spirit while serving the community.”
Social Media Challenge:
For each day of November, Harker DECA’s public relations team created an Instagram post responding to DECA Inc.’s daily theme. Some of the themes were “Explain DECA in 10 seconds or less,” “What makes your chapter unique?” and “You with a new DECA member.” The social media challenge was a way to not only share DECA with followers and friends but also build community among chapter members across the nation.
Throughout the month, Harker DECA hosted four outreach events: Donations for Dares, Down Set DECA, Dine with DECA, and Eagle Entrepreneurs.
Harker DECA partnered with California DECA to open an ICDC memorial scholarship in the name of their chapter advisor, Juston Glass’, late father. Donations for Dares was one of the incentivization programs held for “The Glass Scholarship”. Although the donation period is still ongoing, milestones in fundraising have been set at $300, $600, and $1,095. To show gratitude through providing means of entertainment and unity for each milestone, the officer team will do the ice bucket challenge, one chip challenge, and provide donut holes to the whole school, respectively. Content released by Harker DECA works to promote school outreach by both increasing the exposure of Harker DECA and bringing people together through playful videos.
On the 7th and 9th of November, Harker DECA hosted the Down Set DECA flag football tournament in collaboration with Harker Spirit. The first day featured two games: sophomores facing off against the seniors and the freshmen playing the juniors. Two days later, more games were played to determine first and third place and award school spirit points to each class. These games supported The Glass Scholarship by raising awareness about its cause.
“It was really fun to have an organized football event and play with friends,” said Down Set DECA player Rishi Lalwani (10).
Down Set DECA Attendee Shruti Srinivasan (10) noted, “It was interesting to see how many people were engaged in the game, and I had so much fun! I think it’s a good opportunity for football players and other athletes to be able to play with each other one last time after the [football] season ends.”
Harker DECA’s annual Dine with DECA Event happened on November 15th over lunch. Participants utilized the opportunity to network with industry professionals and gain valuable insight about different career paths in various fields, such as law, venture capital, gaming, cybersecurity, and more.
One of the Dine with DECA mentors, Niall Browne (SVP, CISO at Palo Alto Networks), said “I really enjoyed the experience. It was amazing to interact with super smart kids, who asked questions that even I did not know!”
“For me, Dine with DECA was a really unique experience. I met several amazing entrepreneurs who not only shared their best advice and stories, but also formed long lasting connections with us students. I definitely walked away with a whole new network of inspiring business men and women who were excited to watch and provide aid for the new generation of entrepreneurs,” said attendee Kimi Yashar (9).
Subsequently, the officer team hosted Eagle Entrepreneurs, an event in which student entrepreneurs from the Harker community had the opportunity to not only share their ideas with the rest of the student body, but also collect market feedback and data. Participants were able to learn more about the entrepreneurial process while simultaneously providing valuable feedback to the entrepreneurs.
Finally—on December 2nd—Harker DECA kickstarted their monthly C-sweets series, in which C-suite professionals will come in once a month to share some sweet treats with students and share their experiences! The first installment of this series featured Aman Singla, Amit Prakash (co-founders of data analysis companies), and some tiramisu!
Alumni Success Stories:
In order to maintain alumni outreach, Harker DECA compiled three success stories of alumni excelling in their respective professional fields, detailing how participating in DECA has helped them succeed in their careers today:
“I’m a Lead Venture Partner at a student-run venture fund called Contrary Capital. We invest between $50k-$250k in entrepreneurs from the college ecosystem: students, professors, and recent alumni. DECA’s large network of alumni members has helped me the most; I’ve been able to bond with countless students over our shared experiences from DECA competing at ICDC or spending nights writing our 30-page paper. As I currently work as a software engineer at tech startup Coda, I realized that DECA has also prepared me for my interviews. Specifically, the roleplay events are extremely similar to casing problems for consulting firms and decomposition problems for technology firms. My experience with DECA has helped me approach interviews with greater confidence and connect with people whether they be my interviewer or student peer.” - David Feng, Class of 2020.
“As a General Board Member of Penn’s Engineering Deans’ Advisory Board, I work closely with deans and faculty from Penn’s Engineering Department to implement various initiatives to enrich the learning experience and environment of students. My time in DECA has taught me the best practices when it comes to communicating in a professional setting as well as how to create and pitch detailed project proposals.” - Clarice Wang, class of 2022.
“DECA helped me understand the principles of entrepreneurship and innovation and taught me about leading teams. This is relevant every single day as I build my company, Opyn, where we’re working creating a more inclusive, fair, and open financial system.” - Alexis Gauba, class of 2017.
Community Outreach Activities:
Officers from the Harker DECA Chapter are at hard work with the Harker Middle School campus to provide an engaging business crash-course experience as well as insight into the plethora of Business and Entrepreneurship opportunities at the Upper School. As Harker DECA prepares to begin a curriculum that closely follows the creation of an IMC, officers are creating principles of business and marketing guides for attendees to use as resources in the creation of their own plans. While sign-ups are currently open, the classes will officially begin the week of January 10th, and conclude the week of February 10th, 2023. This month-long course will meet once a week to not only serve as a link between the middle and high school campuses, but lay a strong foundation for the B&E opportunities that become available in high school.
Furthermore, from November 7-11th and 14-18th, Harker DECA held a trivia challenge consisting of ten questions, through Instagram stories. Each day, a trivia sticker was posted, and the results were monitored and tracked by the officer team. At the end of the ten days, the first player to earn 10/10 on all questions received a $10 gift card of their choosing. Engagement on the stories was incredibly high, averaging between 60 and 120 responses per question sticker, even if players had gotten previous questions incorrectly.
During November Harker DECA also hosted its annual sweatshirt design contest, where chapter members submitted designs for the 2022-2023 school year DECA swag. Additionally, they organized a fundraiser for the Glass Scholarship called “Pumpkin Parcels.” Each Parcel contained holiday treats such as fall-seasonal chocolates, customized notes, and cute autumn trinkets. Members of the Upper School community could purchase them for peers, faculty, and staff. Harker DECA promoted the fundraiser through whole-school announcements, Instagram posts, and flyers throughout the campus. All proceeds go towards the Glass Scholarship, and sales run through December 16th.
Community Service Event:
Harker DECA partnered with Harker Key Club to host a food drive the week of November 14th. Students within the entire school were invited to drop off canned goods, dry goods, boxed treats, and other unopened and unexpired items to donate to West Valley Community Services in time for the holidays. The event was a major success, garnering plenty of food for the organization. It was promoted via schoolwide emails, Instagram posts, and whiteboard signs around campus with information about when and where students could donate.
“Our officers worked really hard to plan, promote, and lead these events to engage our student community. I think we did a great job from hosting professional development events like Dine with DECA to other exciting activities like Down Set DECA and our DECAthlon giveaways. This DECA Month has given us the opportunity to #gettheedge this season!” said Chief Executive Officer Anika Muddu (12).
“DECA Month this year was a huge success, and I’m incredibly proud of the chapter for organizing such unique and creative events. Let’s continue to get the edge and go Eagles!” said chapter advisor Mr. Glass.
About The Harker School DECA
Harker DECA is an International Competitive Business Organization that prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in four fields of business: marketing, finance, hospitality, and management. Our DECA chapter integrates classroom instruction, applies learning, connects to business, and promotes competition in order to prepare the next generation to be academically prepared, community oriented, professionally responsible, and experienced leaders.