HDFC 2021

San Jose, California -- On Saturday, November 13th, 2021, the Harker DECA Chapter hosted their first in-person Harker DECA Fall Conference (HDFC). Over fifty first-year members from DECA’s Silicon Valley District attended the event, which simulated a DECA conference to prepare them for the competitive season and inspire them to “Shine Bright,” the HDFC theme. Attendees participated in a testing session, competed in a roleplay tournament, attended workshops hosted by experienced professionals, and networked with Milpitas DECA members.

The day began in the Nichols Atrium, where attendees had a breakfast of Noah’s Bagels along with an assortment of snacks and drinks as they conversed with friends. They then headed into Nichols Auditorium for the Opening Ceremony, which featured a variety of presentations introducing the conference. Mr. Glass, the Harker DECA Chapter Advisor, kicked off the ceremony by connecting the DECA Inc. "Maximize your Momentum" theme to "Shine Bright" through a motivational speech encouraging students to always reach for the stars. Next, Director of Membership Chloe Lee (10) introduced the Goosechase activity, a fun and interactive game designed to allow participants to become more familiar with the Harker DECA community as well as the Harker Upper School campus. Afterward, the Vice President of Competitions, Anika Muddu (11), gave a brief overview of the study guides that had been passed out to the students. Following these two presentations, California DECA State President Ramya Subramanian, provided helpful DECA tips and previewed the general workings of the state officer team. 

Next, the Competitions subteam organized a testing activity that mimicked the testing experience at conferences. The students took a 100-question multiple choice Business Administration Core exam. Soon after, attendees had the option to partake in leisure activities, including playing board games, watching a movie, and socializing with their peers.

“The testing session at HDFC simulated an actual testing environment and gave them a taste of the competitive exams at DECA conferences, so I was excited that a lot of our first year members got to experience this before their first competitive conference,” said Vice President of Competitions, Anika Muddu (11).

For the next hour, students enjoyed a lunch of Chipotle burritos and ice cream sundaes, catered by Bay Area Ice Cream Catering while hanging out with friends on Davis Field. The Harker DECA Chapter and Milpitas DECA Chapter officer teams got together for a Leader Luncheon, where they discussed plans for possible collaborations during the DECA competitive season.  

After lunch, Director of Roleplays Kaitlyn Wang (10) and Director of Written Events Cynthia Wang (10) introduced the roleplay tournament to students in the Nichols Auditorium, where they were briefed on roleplay tips and how the flight system would work. In a total of four flights, attendees prepared a response to a prompt regarding the nature of ethics in the hotel industry, and then presented their roleplays to volunteer judges. The roleplay tournament concluded with a judge feedback panel where students got to hear from select judges on what they thought the students did well and what they could improve.

“The Roleplay Tournament was a great first introduction to what the roleplay experience would be in a real conference. It’s definitely a different feeling when you know that you want to do well and place,” said HDFC attendee Gabe Li (9).   

Following the roleplay tournament, attendees participated in a series of four workshops, all led by industry professionals. These workshops included “Persuasive Speaking,” presented by author and Stanford lecturer Matt Abrahams, “Pitching your Business,” presented by entrepreneur and angel investor Suneela Muddu, “Investing 101,” presented by Yuri Mitnick, an engineer at Cisco, and “Social Media Marketing,” presented by Daisy Zhang, a social media manager at Chegg.  

“The well-crafted workshops were not only inspiring but also fun to participate in. I really appreciate the contribution of the professionals who shared their experiences in the engaging workshops, as I found their advice extremely helpful. Overall, HDFC was great and I can’t wait to attend the upcoming DECA Events!” said Saahira Dayal (9), an HDFC attendee. 

The conference wrapped up with the Closing Ceremony, held in the Nichols Auditorium. A recap video created by Director of Technology Shreeya Merchia (10) was displayed, and awards for the day’s testing and roleplay competitions were distributed, with the attendees all cheering on their peers. 

“HDFC went extremely well, and I know that all the attendees were able to learn a lot from the event. I can’t wait for us to continue putting in that DECAcation to Maximize our Momentum!” said Chapter Advisor, Mr. Glass.

Students that won awards are as follows:


1st Place: Cindy Yu (9)

2nd Place: Emily Mitnick (9), Gia Emelie (9), Gary Jin (9)

3rd Place: Shiven Balaji (9), Valerie Li (9), Ruhan Sahasi (9)

Roleplay Tournament:

1st Place: Sam Parupudi (9)

2nd Place: Tiana Salvi (9)

3rd Place: Saahira Dayal (9)

Top 10 (Listed Alphabetically): Maya Affaki (9), Saahira Dayal (9), Ariana Gauba (9), Gabe Li (9), Valerie Li (9), Lauren Lin (9), Sam Parupudi (9), Tiana Salvi (9), Shaila Tandon (9), Caleb Tang (9)