On Nov. 7, 2020, the Mililani High School DECA Club, participated in a leadership training for the Hawai’i State DECA. The club is a chapter of the organization DECA Inc. (Distributive Education Clubs of America), which prepares students for a future in business. Officers from DECA chapters at high schools across Hawai’i met on a Google Meets call for icebreakers, bonding activities, and breakout rooms to train students in their individual positions.
“Just being able to talk to other DECA officers from different schools—I think that was a really good experience because normally, we just hang out and socialize with our own chapters, but getting a new outlook on DECA and seeing what other chapters were doing was really interesting,” said MHS DECA Club President junior Annabelle Ink, who is also the Hawai’i State DECA Vice President.
Ink is on the state executive team for DECA, which organized the leadership training. At the training, officers were taught ways to organize meetings, communicate with other chapters, and run clubs virtually. With distance learning during COVID-19, connecting with club members and getting them involved became a priority for DECA. “I definitely learned about, of course, leadership skills, but they really expanded our knowledge on how to, you know, connect with our DECA members,” DECA Vice President Kirah Evile said.
November is DECA Month, and DECA Inc. planned activities for each day on social media. These included hashtagging a “#DECABestie” or posting the best internship or career advice one received. MHS DECA members can earn points for their chapter by participating in at least three of these events.
Each breakout room had officers of the same position from other DECA clubs at different high schools, which allowed their training to be personalized to their roles. Multi-Media Secretary Elise Norris, whose officer position was not common among other Hawai’i chapters, joined the secretary room where they discussed ways to use differing personalities among officers to make the club more productive. “Of course, everyone’s gonna need to have that go-to attitude, but you also have to learn how to listen to others’ ideas. And with those ideas, your business—or whatever aspect of business you’re going through—is going to become a lot stronger,” Norris said.
In addition to training, the meeting also served to debrief Hawai’i chapters with activities and plans during this season. This included CTSO (Career and Technical Student Organizations), a competition DECA has every year where students can compete individually or with a partner in different categories, such as finance, marketing, and entrepreneurship. Last year’s finalists were set for a trip to Tennessee to compete, but COVID-19 called for a change of plans. Evile was among those who were unable to participate due to the competition’s cancellation. “Although we cannot meet in-person, we are doing a virtual competition this year, which is kind of great. You know, at least we still get to participate,” Evile said.
As of yet, the national competition is planned to be held in-person at Anaheim, California. For more information on MHS DECA activities, follow their Instagram page @mililanideca.
*Updated 12/3/20 with correction: The leadership training was organized by the state executive team for DECA and not Mililani DECA.