SPOTSWOOD, NJ - On February 21, 48 Spotswood High School members of Spotswood DECA boarded a bus to head to the State Career Development Conference in Atlantic City. DECA is a co-curricular program that prepares students for college as well as professional careers by combining classroom instruction with real-life interactions that involve the community and area businesses as well as competitive events.

These 48 students had competed at the regional conference at Kean University in January in business-related role-plays or spent the better part of the academic year working on a presentation for a business plan. During the three-day conference, students presented their business manuals to a team of judges while others participated in role-plays all for the opportunity to move on the national DECA stage. In the end, 20 Chargers will be representing Spotswood High School at the International Career Development Conference in Anaheim, California this spring.

The conference will take place on April 25, April 26, April 27, April 28, April 29 and April 30 and will feature the top five respective finalists from state DECA competitions across the country. More than 16,000 high school students will attend the conference.

Sign Up for E-News

"Spotswood DECA would like to congratulate all members who attended the State Career Development Conference last week in Atlantic City," said Spotswood High School educator, Kelly Meagher. "This year was the first year both Blue and Gold Region NJ DECA members all competed together, allowing the top five finalists to move on to the national level."

Meagher is a Business, Vocational and Technology teacher at Spotswood High School. She is also the advisor for the Chargers' DECA chapter and the Charger Corner, the school store. This is Meagher's first year teaching in the Spotswood School District. She and her husband recently relocated to New Jersey. Meagher previously taught in Virginia.

In order to move on to nationals in Anaheim, Spotswood DECA members participating in the Atlantic City regional conference had to finish in the top five in their respective fields.

Matthew Amador, Courtney Buhl, Matt Fuzesi, Doug Gumprecht, Olivia Hellerich, Jayme Herman, Zach Mataya, Ryan Miller, Gina Ridgway, Matteo Tavella, Carlos Valencia and Liana Yanchuck were all finalists at regionals, narrowly missing out on moving on to the next level.

The following members of Spotswood DECA will be packing their bags and heading out west in the spring:

  • Alexis Vieira and Kaylie Writt – 2nd place in Financial Literacy Promotion Plan
  • Erin Thuring and Danielle Wittig - 3rd place in Public Relations Project
  • Erin LoSacco and Cailey Bennett – 3rd place in Community Service Project
  • Elizabeth Fisher – 4th place in Advertising Campaign
  • Michael Cantatore – 1st place in Start-Up Business Plan
  • Kimmy Loureiro and Elizabeth LoBiondo – 5th place in Sports and Entertainment Operations Research
  • Megan Clarke and Michaela Robinson – 1st place in Sports and Entertainment Operations Research
  • Amanda Mausser and Joey Bartusek – 3rd place in Buying and Merchandising Operations Research

Ridgway, Herman, Yanchuck, Amador, and Leah Demers will also be heading to Anaheim. The five students qualified to participate in the leadership conference, which will be held during the five-day International Career Development Conference.

"Congratulations again to all 48 members who competed at the State level," Meagher said. "Keep up the hard work!"