Hightstown DECA members qualify for international Virtual Business Challenge, lauded for longevity of HHS Store


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Three students from Hightstown High School DECA qualified to compete in the international Virtual Business Challenge at the DECA International Career Development Conference (ICDC), which will be held virtually April 19-23.

The DECA competitive event is a fast-paced, online simulation that challenges students to manage tasks in the career areas of accounting, entrepreneurship, fashion, hotel management, personal finance, restaurant, retail or sports, according to information provided by DECA.

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Throughout the year, students competed in sports marketing, accounting, personal finance, retailing, hotel management and restaurant management.

Examples of tasks in the virtual simulation include implementing new business strategies, developing marketing strategies, optimizing profitability and making strategic financial decisions, according to the statement.

The top two teams from each round in each category from each of DECA’s four regions — Central, North Atlantic, Southern and Western — qualify to compete at the ICDC. A total of 16 teams per category will face off during the ICDC.

ICDC qualifiers are sophomores Ethan Martin, Sara Malinak and Anshal Vyas, who all qualified in sports marketing.

All three qualifiers also await results for the New Jersey DECA State Career Development Conference after moving up in their other categories of competition as well, according to the statement.

“We are so proud of our members for continuing to be active and competitive even despite the current educational and global circumstances due to the pandemic,” Kelsey Petrasek, chapter advisor, said in the statement.

Knowledge Matters sponsors the accounting, entrepreneurship, fashion, personal finance, restaurant, retail and sports tracks, and The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation sponsors the hotel management track.

In other news from DECA, the HHS Store, the school-based enterprise at Hightstown High, was among 246 school-based enterprises achieving Gold Certification for the 2020-21 school year and will also be recognized during the conference.

A school-based enterprise (SBE) is an entrepreneurial operation in a school setting that provides goods and services to meet the needs of the market. SBEs are managed and operated by students as hands-on learning laboratories that integrate National Curriculum Standards in marketing, finance, hospitality and management. DECA advisors have utilized this effective educational tool for over four decades to provide their students with realistic and practical learning experiences that reinforce classroom instruction, enhance 21st century skill development, and prepare students for college and careers, according to the statement.

The Hightstown High School DECA members who contributed to the certification were Angie Kramer, Rebecca Edgerly and Ashley Field, with the assistance of DECA chapter advisors Kelsey Petrasek and Kelly Gaskill.

The SBE at Hightstown High School has operated for five years and is to be commended for this achievement, according to the statement.

“DECA’s School-based Enterprise Certification Program is a rigorous process designed to help DECA members demonstrate their classroom learning in a practical, learning laboratory, and then translate that into meaningful outcomes,” Christopher Young, CAE, chief program officer at DECA Inc., said in the statement. “These DECA members are practicing important workplace readiness skills while preparing for college and careers.”

In order to apply for the certification, SBEs must submit extensive documentation that explains how the SBE demonstrates the practice of various marketing and retail standards. A review committee evaluates the documentation to determine which level of certification has been achieved, according to the statement.

DECA’s School-based Enterprise programs are sponsored by Intuit and Otis Spunkmeyer Inc.

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