DECA: A Reflection


Courtney Collier, Guest Writer

I recently participated in a DECA competition at Moraine Valley Community College. “DECA is a professional organization and the contests demonstrates real world skills and give students an insight on what the business world is really like,” says Dana Benda, the DECA coordinator for Hillcrest High School.  DECA is known for preparing students to become college and career-ready and to be future leaders and entrepreneurs.

Before the day of competition, we were told to dress business professional because the competition was basically an interview and we were to talk about the topic they gave to us as best as we could. As soon as I walked into the college on the day of competition, I was given instructions on where to go and what I needed to do. There were so many people there and all from different schools so the competition was thick, but I prepared hard and I was told to do my best.

I won’t lie; it was overwhelming seeing all the students who had it in their heads that they were going to win, and I was just there to do my best. There were two tests that needed to be taken, and then there was an interview with one of the faculty working the competition. The first test I needed to take was a test on quick restaurant services, and the second test was an economic test that everyone had to take. As I headed up the stairs to the room I needed to take my first test in on the second floor, I was getting more and more nervous, and when I learned there were 100 questions – it was worse. After my test it did feel as though a weight was lifted off of my shoulders, but I was far from done yet. I went to meet up with my other friends who were there and we sat down and talked about everything. See, they had finished their first test too, but their interviews were all before mine. I wanted to see how they felt before they went in to see if it was the same as mine and I wanted to see had it changed and how’d it go after they were done. My friend Dorion Franks, one of the competitors in a different competition, said, she was nervous to go into her interview too, but afterwards when I talked to her she said, “It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, and I just did my best.” That made me feel a lot better, and plus her best was ranking only a few points away from third place.

It was now my turn to go back to the room I came from and do my interview, and it was like all my nerves just came rushing back at once. When I finally got there I was given a topic on a fast food restaurant, and I had to make a decision as an executive on how our menu should be and what changes needed to be made to better the company. They only gave me about 10 minutes to do all of that, and I had the option to write everything down. When it was my time to go, I found myself not even looking at my notes and basically winging the interview. In the end I thought I did horrible, but the lady was really nice and she assured me that I didn’t; in fact, I had said something that no one had ever said, and it made me unique. Once again, I had felt so much better and was happy with my end result.

When I went back down to where all the other students were I began to talk to them, and interacting with them really showed me how they took it very seriously. DECA was not just a grade to them or an activity to do to get out of gym, but they really hoped it would better them for their future careers. For instance, one student Olivia Douglas said, “I love being in DECA, and I wish I would have participated in this class sooner because I really feel as though it is helping me grow into the person I want to become for my future corporate job.”

I am really happy that I decided to attend this competition and was able to participate in this experience with my peers, and I can honestly say that it has made me think about what I need to do to better myself in my future nursing career.