Students from Foothill and Amador Valley high schools put their entrepreneurial skills to the test at this month's annual Northern California Career Development Conference in San Ramon.
The conference, which took place from Jan. 13-15, hosted over 900 DECA students from across the state who participated in written exams, roleplaying and presentations at the conference. The purpose behind the conference is to strengthen a students business skills and their professional thinking skills.
DECA is a nonprofit career and technical student organization with more than 225,000 members across the U.S. and other countries globally. According to Foothill's DECA website, the organization prepares "emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management."
"I joined DECA as a sophomore in high school not knowing what I wanted to fill my time up with," said Pallavi Shankar, a senior and one of the co-presidents of DECA at Amador. "Little did I know that was one of the best decisions I have made in my high school career. I have met so many amazing people and have grown into a leader -- I didn't even realize I was capable of being one."
Both Foothill and Amador sent students from their respective DECA student organizations to participate in the industry-validated competition and over 40 students from each school won various awards.
According to information sent to the Weekly by both organizations, Foothill received a record-breaking 46 individual and team Top 10 awards while Amador received 42. Foothill also won 27 Top 3 placements while Amador won 16.
"In preparation for NorCal, our competitors went through a rigorous training process to improve their competition skills," Foothill DECA director of training Ashwin Sriram said in a press release. "Assigning them a qualified mentor to practice with allowed them to feel ready and confident. Our competitors did fantastic at the conference, and I am extremely proud of their grit and determination in training."
Andrea Yang, a senior and the other co-president of Amador's DECA chapter, told the Weekly that her favorite memory from the conference was feeling the immense pride as she saw her fellow Amador DECA members step onto the podium to receive their awards.
"It felt like our hard work with the officer team to cultivate the competitive growth of our members was successful," Yang said. "It was a moment where as a co-president and as a friend to our chapter, I was so proud of every competitor's success in this conference."
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