DECA Club students qualify for national business competition


Twenty-one Rockville Centre students have qualified for the DECA International Career Development Conference at Disneyland in Anaheim, next month, following their recent performance at the state competition.

The Distributive Education Clubs of America, or DECA, is an internationally recognized organization with more than 200,000 members around the world dedicated to preparing emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management.

Peter English, a business department facilitator and instructor at South Side High School, played a pivotal role in the school’s DECA program when he started teaching there eight years ago. He had been involved in the organization for several years at his former school in New Jersey, which motivated him to revitalize the DECA Club charter at the high school.

Since then, English watched his vision grow to where it is now. DECA is currently the schools largest club, with a roster of more than 130 members who compete in a series of business-related challenges, testing their understanding of business concepts and creativity.

This year, there were 97 students in the International Baccalaureate Business Management program at South Side High School selected to attend the New York State Career Development Conference in Rochester on March 6-8, based on their performance in the regional competition at Plainview-Old Bethpage High School in December.

“This is the biggest group South Side has taken to the state competition and is also now the most accomplished,” English said. “Just a wonderful job by the students. Their dedication to business studies has certainly paid off.”

Over the course of the three-day competition, nearly 2,400 students from 90 schools across the state took part in a series of business-related, role-playing scenarios and case study events.

“Events ranged from case study presentations to project management projects that had students work in and around our community,” English said. “For many, their work started this past May, when last year’s national competition ended. They put together plans, executed and evaluated their work. Their business classes provide the content knowledge and they amazingly put it into action in real life or simulated business situations.”

The competition began with a 100-question multiple-choice career cluster exam, followed by scenarios in which students are given 10 minutes to respond and 10 minutes to present their answers to a judge who scores them. The students are judged based on the creativity of their pitch, their ability to apply business terminology and content knowledge to case studies, and their public speaking skills.

Students who qualified for the international competition in April, include: Ella Burbige, Cate Cammalleri, Nicole Carlin, Sean Clairine, Emma Conlon, Lauren Ferazani, Maeve Ferrick, Anna Finora, Katherine Graci, Owen Greene, Kate Gupta, Lana Jewett, Molly McKeough, Caitlin Mullen, Michael Muscarella, Nicholas Papadopulos, Noelle Prince, Lucy Reardon, Kelsie Reinholdt, Molly Schieck and Ronan Tarpey.

“We are so proud of all of our students who competed at the state competition in Rochester, and especially to the 21 students who qualified for Nationals,” South Side High School Principal Patrick Walsh said. “Our DECA program helps students develop real-world, practical skills that will travel with them throughout their lives.”

More than 10,000 DECA members from all over the country will compete at the ICDC competition, from April 27-30, in the hopes of being crowned an international champion.

To learn more about South Side’s DECA program, visit its website,