MHS DECA Club Achieves Recognition

MHS DECA Club Achieves Recognition
Posted on 03/02/2021
Montclair High School’s DECA was among 324 chapters that achieved THRIVE level recognition this year and will be commended at DECA’s International Career Development Conference (ICDC) held virtually April 19-23. DECA is a career and technical student organization that prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs who are interested in careers in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management. DECA enhances the preparation for college and careers by providing co-curricular programs that integrate into classroom instruction, apply learning, connect to business and promote competition. DECA student members leverage their DECA experience to become academically prepared, community oriented, professionally responsible, experienced leaders. Each fall, DECA offers four campaigns for chapters to complete as part of their program of leadership for the year. These campaigns are designed to grow membership engagement and build lasting partnerships within the school and local community.

Chapters that achieve THRIVE level receive a commemorative pennant, flag, and plaque. The chapters also have an opportunity to participate in ICDC. In order to receive THRIVE level recognition, the chapter completed two out of three chapter campaigns including the Global Entrepreneurship Week campaign, promotional campaign and community service campaign. Alternatively, the chapter could have participated in the membership campaign which challenged the chapter to attain two of three goals: recruit 20 professional members, recruit 20 alumni members, or increase student membership by 20 more members from the previous school year.

“There are 59 members in our club this year up from 38 last year,” said MHS advisor Kenneth Schnitzer who has been overseeing the club since 2004. “The individuals who earned our chapter the Thrive Award went out and recruited new members by bringing in their friends and siblings and solicited professionals to join DECA to get this award.

The Montclair DECA members who contributed to the THRIVE recognition were Elias Benchekroun, Amelia Chan, Owen Duncan, Maura McGeever and Serena Lee with the assistance of their advisor, Ken Schnitzer.

According to Schniztzer, who explained the process, the year starts with the district conference where every member competes. There are three districts in New Jersey: North, Central and South. Each district has two divisions, east and west. In normal years, students take a written test online in December and then compete in roleplays with business professionals the beginning of January. MHS’s roleplay events have been held at Kean University. The top finishers in each event (10-12 for individual events and six for team events), move on to compete in the virtual state conference. The top three finishers go on to compete at the international conference (ICDC) which will also be held virtually. Last year two MHS students qualified for the International Conference. 

“With everything being virtual this year, they adapted quite well. Everyone took the written test online in December. This year we have 27 students attending the virtual state conference. They took the written test online at the end of January and did virtual roleplays the first week of February. Today is the start of the state conference, which is also virtual as will be ICDC. There will be the opening ceremony tonight and awards ceremonies tomorrow and Wednesday,” said Schnitzer. “I am immensely proud of our students to get this achievement and everyone for their ability to adapt to the virtual environment.”
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