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  • Writer's pictureThe Lawrencian

DECA: Districts to States

Pranav Vaddepalli (‘26)

Rishi Anarkat (‘25)

Pranav Soleti (‘26)

Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) is a global organization that prepares future leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management in high schools and colleges. DECA allows students to develop leadership skills and public speaking expertise through participation in competitions, ultimately helping them gain real-world experience. Members often partake in activities such as roleplaying, business simulations, interviews, and pitching business ventures.

Lawrence High School (LHS) is considered to have one of the most successful DECA clubs, a status it has maintained since its introduction at the school. Throughout the years, numerous students from LHS have won or placed highly in DECA competitions, firmly establishing our reputation. DECA competitions are composed of three levels: district, state, and national. At the district level, students compete in roleplays and choose from a vast array of categories to compete in, spanning from automotive services marketing to travel and tourism. Participants

either compete by themselves or with a partner of their choosing. At the state level, qualifying competitors can compete in roleplays and manuals. A manual is a document written by a student or a group of students that contains details regarding the strategic and operational planning of a real or fake company. Manuals are particularly unique as they allow students who choose this category to go directly to the state level regardless of their performance at the district level. At the national level, a select few compete against the best of the nation for a chance to claim victory. Similar to states, they also compete in roleplays and manuals.

On January 5th, around 300 students from Lawrence High School traveled to Kean University to compete at the district level for DECA. Results came in the next day, revealing that a total of 63 students from LHS qualified to compete at the state level. Of those students, 37 qualified for their roleplays. For the automotive services marketing series event, Jacob Silber qualified, and Vincent Beyer qualified placing 3rd overall. Ridhima Pandey qualified for the business services marketing series event. Ria Kaistha and Jillian Cofsky placed 1st overall for the buying and merchandising team decision-making event. Purba Karmaker qualified for the hospitality and tourism professional selling event. Nishka Desai, Megan John, Anika Shringi, and Aastha Jagani qualified, and Kian Khojastepour and Rishi Anarkat placed 3rd overall in the hospitality services management team decision-making series event. Lily Orn, Roshni Anarkat, and Jewel Pierrecharles all qualified for the hotel and lodging management event. Sara Suri and Jiyaa Revankar qualified for the human resources management series event. Ruhi Parekh and Amberly Guzman qualified for the marketing communication series event. Kendall Jodoin and Charley DeMarco qualified for the marketing management team decision-making series event. Zebo Khasanova qualified for the principles of hospitality and tourism event. Nicole Montan Taveras qualified for the principles of marketing event. Pranav Soleti,

Ian Hendry, and Akshay Iyer all qualified for the quick service restaurant management series event. Liliana Calderone qualified, and Yoni Fura qualified, placing 2nd overall for the restaurant and food service management series event. Aidan McGann and Kajol Naik qualified for the retail merchandising event. Ethan Conover qualified for the sports and entertainment marketing series. Ava Donnelly and Alexis Audet qualified, and Tyler Cortacans and Noah Johansen qualified placing 1st overall for the sports and entertainment marketing management team decision-making event. Emma Monaghan and Hayley Jodoin qualified for the travel and tourism team decision-making event. The remaining 26 students qualified for their manuals.

The next step for these competitors is to travel to Atlantic City for the state-level competition. LHS students will be facing the best competitors in New Jersey, where only the top participants will qualify for the national competition. Hopefully, students bring their A-game and let their talent shine, because maintaining LHS DECA’s long-lasting reputation is no easy feat.

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