SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - At the Nov. 18th Council Meeting, Mayor Matthew Anesh proclaimed November “National DECA Month.” DECA, or Distributive Education Clubs of America, gives high school students experience in the areas of marketing, finance, hospitality and management, preparing the students to become the future leaders of America.
“Having November proclaimed National DECA month is a good way to let the town know about DECA, what we do, what they can do for us, and what we can give back to them so everyone can benefit,” said Jordan Lovett as President of South Plainfield High School’s DECA Chapter.
DECA gives high school students experience in the areas of marketing, finance, hospitality and management, preparing them to become the future leaders of America. South Plainfield High School is part of 3,500 high school DECA chapters. The club prepares them for successful futures. Students are also taught the importance of community service and philanthropy.
“National DECA Month is a really good way to represent our community in DECA,” said Gianna Ruzicka, DECA Vice President. “We also serve the community, for example, we do Senior Center Thanksgiving dinners and gingerbread houses for Christmas.”
A highly competitive organization, DECA which requires extensive preparation. DECA students attend four conferences throughout the year: Chapter Officer Leadership Training (COLT), Regional Conference at Kean University, State Conference, and the International Conference.
“I think DECA is very educational, even though it just seems like a fun club, it’s very educational,” said Executive Board DECA member Rebecca Hollo, sophomore. “It teaches how it will be in life, how you should prepare and start planning. It’s definitely a lot of forward planning.”
“DECA is a really great club because it gives you a lot of opportunities and it lets you see what you may want to do in the real world,” said DECA member Rajan Balarran, sophomore. “I thought I wanted to do something in finance, but once I did my business service marketing program, I realized that may be something I want to pursue in my future career.”
The South Plainfield High School DECA chapter has steadily grown over the years since it began six years ago. Co-Advisors Kayla Bryant-Khanutin and Kelly Butrico have been guiding the program since the start. Approximately forty students in DECA attended the council meeting and wore business attire.
Anesh began reading the proclamation, which outlined the values DECA instills in its members and the professional development and preparation for life after school.
“…Whereas, DECA’s activities assist in the development of academically prepared, community oriented, professionally responsible, experienced leaders; and whereas DECA attributes and values describe the organization’s priorities and standards, including competence, innovation, integrity, and teamwork, and whereas, DECA is committed to the advocacy of developing business and expanding business and education partnerships,” read Anesh.
Anesh then officially proclaimed November 2019 as “DECA Month” in the Borough of South Plainfield, requesting that the community encourage and support the future leaders and entrepreneurs of DECA.
“I invite all of you up and you can take our seats here,” said Anesh inviting the students up to the front of the room.
“DECA basically prepares students to be adults in the future,” announced Lovett from Anesh’s seat. “It teaches students how to talk to future employers, how to communicate, how to present your ideas properly and how to be a professional.”
This year’s DECA Chapter Officers are: Jordan Lovett (President), Gianna Ruzicka (Vice President), and Patrick Joyner (Recording Secretary). The Executive Board members are: Jessica Andrade, Harrison Anesh, Joseph Anesh, Xavier Brown, Rebecca Hollo, and Kishen Mangra.
DECA members are: Yasmin Ali, Sebastian Annamanthado, Eric Ascencio, Rajan Balarran, Jeremy Burrell, Melissa Calderon, Erik Callejas, Colin Carey, Chase Carty, Abdul Cokley, Joseph Feeney, Nicole Freire, Kendell Harris, Andrew Hing, Aaliyah Howard, Chioma Ibeku, Kathryn Lenau, Brandon Melgar, Mary O’Dell, Pharaoh Osborne, Alexia Piper, Jason Rodas, Justin Rodas, Amber Sanchez, Alexis Salter, Amanda Senatore, Justin Sogbo, Amy Swartz, Karl Torralba, Brian Uba and Kaivon Wright.
Students say they find DECA to be a benefit to their growth, preparing them for the world beyond the school doors.
“I love DECA,” said Lovett. “It’s taught me how to speak to adults in a professional manner, and not be scared to look them in the eye or be scared that they may not want to listen to what I have to say. As long as I present myself as if I am important, and as if I am someone that they want to listen to, they will listen.”
“DECA helps students grow as business leaders in our club,” said Ruzicka. “I love DECA, it’s something that I want to do as my career, so it’s something that I really enjoy doing. It was definitely a really major life change with me because it made me realize what I wanted to be with my career.”