Each February, high schools across the country celebrate CTE Month by drawing attention to the career-oriented clubs on their campuses. CP DECA is an example of one of these clubs that is working to shape the leaders of tomorrow.
DECA or Distributive Education Clubs of Americas is an organization on campus that allows for students to grow as leaders and learn more about different sectors of the business industry through events and competitions. Currently, the CP chapter is one of the largest chapters in the state of Texas. This month, the club is highlighting their dedication to career and technical education and how they are preparing students for their futures.
“DECA is the largest CTE club at College Park. Our chapter provides countless opportunities for students to gain relevant career experience during high school,” DECA President, Esha Chakraborti said. “Students can gain industry level certifications in the hospitality and tourism sector, build connections with local businesses, and build their resume through competition.”
CTE is the practice of teaching specific skills that are related to industry. This applies to DECA as students have numerous opportunities to take steps toward their future career. There are four different career pathways that members can explore throughout their time as a member. This includes business management and administration, marketing, hospitality and tourism, and finance. Related to each of these clusters, students can practice their skills in competition and earn certifications.
“My experience in DECA has advanced my thinking, character, and ideas in so many ways. The fast paced competitive environment opened my eyes to new career paths and opportunities,” VP of Membership, Caitlyn Cockshott said. “There’s never a dull moment and I’m always looking forward to the next event.”
Each year, DECA students get the opportunity to showcase their skills at competition. Members will compete in either a prepared or roleplay event and can work in a small team or as an individual. Prepared events take months of research to complete, while roleplay events do not receive their prompt until competition day. Students will first compete at the District competition in January and if they advance, will compete at the State competition in February. If they are successful and advance from the State competition, they will then compete at the highest level, Internationals.
“DECA is great for students who want to receive real career experience in high school whether that be meeting with entrepreneurs, business owners, and by making promotional flyers,” DECA President, Daniyaal Qazi said. “Skills and experience combined, DECA prepares emerging leaders well before they enter a career.”
Along with competition, members get to become community-oriented and meet with experienced professionals in their industry. A community service event is held each month for members to give back to the community. This year, students participated in events such as writing cards for seniors, holding a Halloween drive thru for local kids, and a campaign for seatbelt safety. During Entrepreneurship Week, members get to learn about successful local entrepreneurs. In addition, many students work alongside business owners to conduct research for their competitive event. Each activity members partake in allows for them to expand their business knowledge and leadership skills.
“Overall, DECA provides a great platform for students to develop their leadership and public speaking skills while exploring the realm of business,” Chakraborti said.