DECA Wins Big At States


Photo courtesy of Grace Shang

State High DECA members with top-six scores in their events pose after becoming Mini Award Winners at the PA DECA state conference.

Jenny Yu, Features Editor

After months of preparation, State High DECA members headed to Hershey for their first in-person states competition in two years. From Feb. 16-18, 2022, more than 50 DECA members participated in the Pennsylvania state competition at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center. DECA is a career and technical student organization that specializes in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management, with competitions at the regional, state, and international levels.

Leading up to the competition, tensions were high as members eagerly prepared in hopes of placing well.

“I’m super excited but also nervous,” junior Sam Ikenberry said. “Because I am a junior, this is the last time I’ll be able to compete at the state level and have the results impact my college application, so this year matters a lot for me.”

Ikenberry competed in both the Financial Services Team Decision Making and the Male Modeling events. As a result, his February days consisted of “poring over practice exams and memorizing every question PA DECA has asked on a Finance exam.”

Senior Madeline Krentzman, who competed in the Buying and Merchandising Team Decision Making events for her fourth year, had similarly intense preparations. Beyond doing many practice tests, she also “worked individually and with [her] partner to practice the roleplay component of the competition.”

Competing in the Financial Services Team Decision Making event with Ikenberry was junior Grace Shang. However, her preparations extended beyond the competition itself.

“I’m running for state office, which is actually my main source of stress for DECA states this year,” Shang said. Shang and a few of her fellow State High DECA officers headed to the conference a day early to help campaign for Shang’s position in the PA DECA State Executive Council.

Despite their varying goals, all DECA members looked forward to the conference being held in person, in contrast to last year when competitions were held virtually.

“I’m excited to be able to go back to the competition live and do a real in-person event, and I’m confident in PA DECA’s ability to do it safely,” Krentzman said.

At the conference, DECA members participated in roleplays and scholarship interviews (testing portions of events were virtually conducted weeks before the conference). Ultimately, their hard work came to fruition. Shang won her campaign for the State Executive Council, and Shang, Ikenberry, and Krentzman all placed first in the state in their events.

“We had more people qualify for internationals this year than ever before, and the officer team is very proud of them,” Shang said.

Moreover, State High DECA won the PA DECA cup for raising the most amount for charity, having raised over $3800 for the Make A Wish Foundation.

With the state competition over, the next step will be the International Career Development Conference (ICDC) this spring. It will be held in Atlanta, Georgia at the end of April, with around 20 people from State High attending. They will visit attractions such as Six Flags, the Georgia Aquarium, the World of Coke, and the College Football Hall of Fame during their stay. This will be the first in-person international conference since 2019, and DECA members are already eagerly undergoing further preparations.

Results from the PA DECA State Competition are listed below:

Grace Shang & Sam Ikenberry – 1st Place, Financial Services Team Decision Making
Elizabeth Songer & Madeline Krentzman – 1st Place, Buying and Merchandising Team Decision Making
Avi Mazer & Abigail Sparrow – 1st Place, Entrepreneurship Team Decision Making
Amber Kissinger & Madison Fraley – 1st Place, International Business Plan
Clarissa Theiss – 2nd Place, Human Resources Management Series
Josh Fragin – 3rd Place, Marketing Communications Series
Jake LeVan & Chris Petrick – 3rd Place, Travel and Tourism Team Decision Making
Diana Tsarnakova – 4th Place, Principles of Business Management and Administration