SPOTSWOOD, NJ - DECA has been a big part of Spotswood High School senior Kayla Dekovics' time as a Charger. She is DECA's vice-president of public relations and helped to organize and lead the Nicole Surace Remembrance Walk, Butterfly Garden and butterfly release. Surace, who was killed in a car accident in 2013 along with Jeffrey Szatkowski, was Dekovics' neighbor and babysitter. Dekovics considers it an honor to be able to lead the memorial events for Surace.

The National Honor Society member was named the Spotswood High School Student-of-the-Month in October. Dekovics served as the secretary for the National Honor Society. In addition to DECA, the Milltown native was a member of the Heroes and Cool Kids program. The avid runner ran cross-country for three years, lettering as a freshman. She was also a part of the winter and spring track teams. Last fall, she decided to forgo her last season of cross-country to be a part of the varsity cheerleading team. In October, Dekovics was voted Homecoming Queen.

Her favorite Spotswood High School class is College Honors Marketing. The college-level class is a part of the school's award-winning DECA program.

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"My favorite class is College Honors Marketing because I love DECA and it is amazing being in a class with a close-knit group of students who all share the same passion for DECA," Dekovics explained. "I always find myself shocked that the period is already over and I wish I could stay in that class all day."

Dekovics gives high marks to her teachers at Spotswood High School and taps Colleen Meyers, Kelly Meagher and Megan Morton as her favorites.

"The teachers at Spotswood High School are all amazing, and they truly do take the time to get to know you personally, so I cannot just pick one teacher who has influenced me," Dekovics said. "Ms. Meyers was someone that I didn’t get to know really until my senior year, but she has impacted me so much. I went out for cheer my senior year, and she was my cheer coach and helped me feel so welcomed and helped me have such a fun season with all the girls. Her passion and positive energy is contagious both during cheer and during psych class."

"Ms. Morton is also one of my favorite teachers," the teen continued. "I had the opportunity to have her for sophomore and senior years. Ms. Morton’s class periods are always so much fun and full of laughs while still getting our work done of course. Ms. Morton continues to encourage me every day and motivates me to never give up."

"The last teacher that is one of my favorites is Mrs. Meagher," Dekovics added. "Mrs. Meagher has been with me since freshman year and besides being my teacher and DECA advisor she has become like a second mom to me. Mrs. Meagher is one of the most selfless people I know. She spends countless hours working with each manual group before, during and after school to perfect their manuals. It is because of her that our DECA chapter has been so successful these past four years. Mrs. Meagher is someone who has taught me so much, not just about school, but life lessons that I will take with me wherever I go. When I am a teacher I hope I can impact half as many students as she has. I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to get to know teachers that will make saying goodbye so hard."

Many of Dekovics' cherished memories revolve around DECA. She will always remember placing in the top ten at the International Career Development Conference in Florida in the Business Operations Research Event for Hospitality and Tourism her junior year. Her DECA trips to nationals in Atlanta and Orlando were special as was qualifying for the DECA state competition in Atlantic City her freshman year.

Dekovics' other prized memories involve being a cheerleader her senior year and qualifying for the state group championship cross-country meet her sophomore year.

"Joining the cheer team my senior year was so much fun," Dekovics said. "Cheering at the games and camp was a blast. I’m so grateful the team welcomed me with open arms and I felt like I’ve been a part of the team forever."

"Racing at the groups meet during my sophomore year with cross-country was my favorite race," Dekovics added. "It was so rewarding to get to race at that level with some of my best friends."

Dekovics plans to follow in the footsteps of her amazing Spotswood High School teachers. She will be attending the Rutgers New Brunswick School of Arts and Sciences in the fall, majoring in Early Childhood Education.

Senior year took a quick, dramatic turn for the Class of 2020 and Dekovics is saddened by the impact the coronavirus has had on her final year at Spotswood High School.

"I am disappointed that senior year was cut short, and that I didn’t get to spend as much time as I would’ve hoped with my favorite teachers and classmates, but I’m so grateful to have had such an amazing high school experience," Dekovics said. "These past four years have given me so many opportunities, friendships, and lifelong memories. The most important piece of advice I could share is to get involved in as many things as possible and to enjoy every day because it goes by way too fast."