How DECA Helped Me


Johnny Morreale, Writer


When I first decided to join DECA during my sophomore year, it was very much on a whim. I dove into the organization with little inkling on how the organization operated, what competitions were like, or even what DECA was about.

Within just a few months, I was on my way to my first competition. Although I had prepared my presentation assiduously, I quickly found myself out of my element, my painted tri-fold a glaring outlier among the heavily polished boards. I was able, through raw talent or mere chance, to advance from district competition to state competition, where I was quickly brushed aside. In later years, I would turn away from written events, with their voluminous papers and pristine presentations, to role play events, where the only requirements were a test and a brief presentation on a topic given only a short time ago. My first attempt was stunted by a lack of knowledge and experience with my topic, but my second year, I had gleaned enough information to place highly among my competitors at both district and state, advancing all the way to the third and final round of competition, internationals.

Despite my many years in the organization, DECA, at least to me, escapes any simple definition. It’s rough contours of business-related competitive events are clear, but anything past that remains murky. This ambiguity permeates the group’s very spirit. DECA serves much more as a rallying cry to its members than as a title to be adequately explained. But in spite of this lack of rigid explanation, DECA has had an enormous influence on my person, far greater than what I could have expected when I spontaneously joined two years ago. The interpersonal skills I had developed through my participation in role plays, skills I did not even believe I had before I began, will help me immeasurably in any future career. My ability to explain any subject clearly and concisely, as well as to plan under considerable pressure, was a fortuitous result from my participation in DECA that will aid me vastly in, with any luck, a future position in the Foreign Service.    

So please, join a club, any club, next year, even if you do not have any notion on its purpose or procedures. They can help you find and develop skills that you may not even be aware you needed. You just might be in for an especially rewarding surprise.