The Freehold High School DECA chapter was recently chosen as one of five schools in the nation to participate in the DECA/AT&T College and Career Readiness Project Partnership.
In the three years since the partnership was created, this is the first time a New Jersey school was selected, according to a press release from the Freehold Regional High School District.
As a result of the selection, a group of about 20 AT&T volunteers from the Middletown facility will be meeting monthly during the 2017-18 school year with between 20 and 25 Freehold High School junior and senior DECA members.
The monthly mentoring sessions will cover topics such as career matching and planning, interviewing skills for college and work, career profiles, professionalism (dress, communication, building a network), resume builders, completing a college/scholarship application, writing a personal statement, life skills and financial literacy, according to the press release.
Sessions will take place at the school in Freehold Borough and at AT&T work sites. A contribution from AT&T provides funding for transportation and lunch, when necessary.
In addition, the partnership provides a one-year license for Nepris (video conferencing on-demand for classroom speakers), and up to $6,000, managed by DECA Inc., for DECA conference expenses for students.
The first session took place on Oct. 24 at the high school, where DECA members met their mentors and enjoyed lunch in the Five Star Café, prepared by the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Magnet Program students.
The DECA participants were asked to spend a few minutes writing about what their goals and dreams are for the future. A discussion followed with their mentors, who helped the students brainstorm some ways they can achieve their goals, according to the press release.
In addition to the mentor volunteers, Jeffrey R. Victor, State Advisor and Executive Director of New Jersey DECA, and Diane Pruner, DECA’s AT&T Project Manager, attended the first session along with the FRHSD Supervisor of Business, Culinary, Family and Consumer Science, and Technology Education Cathy Boenig, and Administrative Supervisor Stephanie Mechmann.
The school’s DECA chapter, which is advised by marketing and accounting teacher Nicole Halpin, was reinstated five years ago with approximately 80 students. There are now more than 200 students participating in the chapter. The chapter’s steady growth was one of the program’s requirements for selection, according to the press release.
Students in the Freehold High School DECA chapter have competed in regional, state and national competitions each year since its reinstatement. Students are challenged by a 100-question test plus role-playing in various scenarios. The school’s chapter has won at all levels of competition and in 2016-17, a Freehold student earned third place national honors, according to the press release.