DECA’s Success in Atlanta


Kristen Casto

Left to right; Connor Hoffstetter, Bowen Slotman, Dillon Connell, Sean Nowicki, Meghan Murphy, Carli Jones

Julian Bocanegra Keller, Staff Reporter

Just as the sun rose over the horizon on Saturday, April 23rd, six Orchard Park High School students boarded a plane headed for a school competition across the country. This was no test of who could throw a ball the furthest or who could answer more questions in a trivia challenge; the task at hand was a measure of strategy, planning, and improvisation.

DECA, a not-for-profit student organization, has been one of the leading partners with OPHS in providing and advocating for business and career related education. Along with being responsible for running our Quaker Store near the commons, DECA also holds annual competitions in which the brightest future businessmen, managers, and entrepreneurs go head to head in four categories: entrepreneurship, marketing, finance, and business administration. This year, DECA took six students and flew them out to Atlanta, Georgia, for the International Career Development Conference for five days of plans and parties.

The trial itself consisted of an administered prompt with a scenario that students would work to solve individually or with a partner, finding the best solution to combat whatever problem the scenario presented. Then, the student(s) would present their solution before a judge, who would rank their proposals against other teams in order to determine who had best “enterprised,” marketed, financed, or administrated their way out of a tricky situation. 

After having qualified for regionals at Grand Island High School and states in Rochester, the six students were ready for any task. Bowen Slotman and Dillon Connell teamed up on Sports and Entertainment marketing. Connor Hoffstetter took on Business Administration alone. Similarly, Sean Nowicki braved the dangers of Financial Consulting, and Carlin Jones joined forces with Meghan Murphy to work on something entirely different: The Career Development Project, a presentation which they had been working on since September.

Despite the group’s dedicated efforts and accomplishments, they didn’t let this hold them back from having fun. As Bowen recalled, “The competition only takes a day. We were actually given a lot of time to explore the city.” Already on their first day, the students visited the well-renowned World of Coca-Cola, and on the second day, as Carlin and Meghan competed, they explored the Atlanta Botanical Garden. The rest of the group competed Monday morning, and then joined to celebrate Connor’s birthday with a trip to the Georgia Aquarium and a concert by Judah and the Lion. The awards announcement ceremony was held Tuesday morning, where it was discovered that Sean had received a Top Ten Roleplay Score, and after voting for the future national officers of DECA, the group attended an Atlanta Braves baseball game before heading home the next morning.

On behalf of Orchard Park High School, we’d like to congratulate Sean on his placement and everyone else who made it this far competing for DECA. Not only did they challenge themselves, but they were also able to learn and have fun in doing so. Orchard Park is proud to welcome these students home.

Left to right; Carli Jones, Sean Nowicki, Bowen Slotman, Connor Hoffstetter, Meghan Murphy, Dillon Connell (Kristen Casto)