The Cinnaminson chapter of DECA is preparing for regionals, states and nationals following quite a busy month of November and early December.
The craziness of the year began on Cinnaminson Day, as the club had a table at Wood Park.
“Cinnaminson Day was such a huge success for us, just getting our name out there,” advisor Jon Repece said. “Back to school night was big too.”
DECA does so much more than run the student store at Cinnaminson High School, although that is important in and of itself.
Members of the club who run the store not only gain valuable business and money management skills, but they also learn customer service and social skills.
“The store itself, these kids learn so much as far as money management skills and time management,” Repece said.
“Being in DECA is a co curricular. One year they take our marketing class, then the retail class, which are about running the student store. It’s a great way to get our name our there and build our brand.”
The month of November started off with a professional development day. Members came to school dressed in business attire.
“We started working on our business role plays,” President Josh Wood, who is also fundraising for nationals, said.
“I have to write a 14-page manual that describes all the things I did to fundraise. If I get a passing grade on it I will get a spot in nationals. We have to write about all we do in terms of school and community outreach. I’m fundraising money for New Eyes for the Needy.”
Wood is a junior and in his second year in DECA.
The business role plays will be put to the test at the regional competition on January 3 at the Crowne Plaza in Cherry Hill, which every member of CHS DECA attends.
“Along with the role plays we are doing, we are gearing up for our online test, which is half of the score for our regional competition,” Repece said. The test is 100 questions and you have 60 minutes.”
The group also went into lunches early in November to teach other students how to tie a tie. The club then held a staff appreciation day for all those who work at CHS, providing free coffee, donuts, bagels and muffins.
Repece is in his first year as the DECA advisor at Cinnaminson High School and said he’d be lost if not for his officers.
“These guys are in here either early in the morning or after school to run the store. This is my first year as an advisor. I’d honestly be lost without these guys.”
The club continues to steadily grow, featuring close to 100 members (52 of them students). Students can join DECA beginning with their sophomore year.
“We limit membership to sophomores, juniors and seniors because we want them to be fully committed to the club,” Wood said.
“The maturity level might not be there freshman year. They might not understand the time commitment you need to join DECA. That’s why we give them a year to get accustomed to high school and then join.”
Membership includes current students, alumni and members of the business community.
Membership ramped up this fall when Vice President of Competitive Events, Ryan Fisher took on a fundraising project for nationals.
Fisher had to get 20 professionals and 20 alumni to sign up for DECA at $20 apiece. Fisher and his partner exceeded the goal.
“Because we raised more than $800, myself and two others get to go to nationals,” Fisher said.
Fisher is a senior and in his third year as a DECA member.
The group holds multiple fundraisers and charity events throughout the school year. One of which went hand-in-hand with the Jane B. Weilenbeck Fund Adopt-a-Family Holiday Program (story coming tomorrow).
“We sell pies and cheesecakes as a fundraiser,” Vice President of fundraising Nick Hanni said. “The money goes towards students to attend states. We moved up our delivery date this year to partner with the Jane B. Weilenbeck Foundation. People could buy cheesecakes and donate them towards the foundation for the adopt a family program.”
Hanni is a junior and in his second year as a member.
DECA also hosts one of the more popular events each year at CHS, Mr. Cinnaminson.
“We fundraise that and sponsor that event,” Vice President of Social Media Colin Karch said. “Interact does Talent Show. We have Mr. Cinnaminson. It’s kind of a male pageant.”
Karch is a junior and in his second year as a member.
The club is also working on being able to have the store open for basketball games and is trying to schedule a dodgeball tournament.
DECA began the month of December with a table at the 20th annual CEHASA WinterFest at Cinnaminson Middle School. The club sold spirit wear and worked on spreading its brand.
“We learn real life skills, practical skills that a lot of other classes don’t offer,” Karch said. “We learn proper business techniques needed in real life, such as interview skills.”
The state competition will be held at Harrah’s in Atlantic City.
Last year nationals were held in Tennessee and will be in Anaheim this year.
“Everybody has to go to states in order to go to nationals,” Repece said. “In the past, if you went to regionals you could go to nationals. It’s a little ripple now.”
Fisher had the opportunity to attend nationals last year and plans on getting back there this year.
“I really like talking to people from all over the country,” Fisher said. “I met hundreds at nationals last year and still talk to some of them today.”
“We all want to qualify for states and nationals. Realistically, only a small handful of people qualify for states. It’s extremely rare that we qualify with our role plays to go to nationals. It’s tough, but we try our hardest.”
Vice President of School Based Enterprise and senior Brad Miller was on a college visit the day of the interview.
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