Foothill High School’s DECA program clinched a cache of awards at the International Career Development Conference earlier this spring, bolstered by the team’s successful MurDECA Mystery fundraiser show after a two-year hiatus of in-person activity.
The DECA (Distributive Educational Clubs of America) program, which aims to prepare high school and college students for entrepreneurial careers in various fields, has a strong history at Foothill, whose members have consistently been recognized internationally for their achievements.
This year, Foothill DECA reached new heights in both their annual fundraiser event and the international conference.
A conference ‘they will not soon forget’
At the international conference held on April 26, Foothill DECA achieved an unprecedented number of wins in their competition history. Among the 14,000 DECA members in attendance at the conference, 11 Foothill students were recognized, with four placing as finalists in the top 10.
At the conference, competitors tested their practical and theoretical knowledge through cluster exams, impromptu role play presentations, and prepared written plan presentations. Each competition aspect required students to apply their skills in marketing, hospitality, finance, and management to real-life business scenarios.
After the competition, DECA members enjoyed exploring Six Flags, the Georgia Aquarium, and the World of Coca-Cola, where they witnessed a real-world application of marketing, hospitality, and tourism.
“I’m so grateful for the opportunity and I had the best experience with the best chapter,” said Tanvi Kapse, finalist in the category of Travel and Tourism Team Decision Making.
For Foothill DECA chapter adviser Tami Raaker, the best part was seeing the energy and enthusiasm students displayed in the competition stadium, with close to 18,000 experiencing an in-person conference for the first time since 2019.
“For many seniors, it was their first and last DECA International Career Development Conference so I am thrilled they were able to have that opportunity. It is one they will not soon forget,” Raaker said.
Foothill students Tanvi Kapse, Maanya Raghuram, Jason Yu and Michael Zong placed as overall finalists in the top 10, and Isabel Dong, Misha Jain, Emma Lin, Varunavee Mohanraj, Jasmin Phan, Shristi Rath and Aly Tran earned recognition as semifinalists.
A fundraising success
Coming back from remote-learning, the MurDECA Mystery show hosted on April 13 marked the Foothill DECA program’s first in-person talent show in two years.
Featuring a variety of student performances, the show offered the audience a chance to solve an engaging mystery case surrounding the fictional murder of vice president of membership Tran.
Amador Valley High School student and audience member Sara Vannonii enjoyed trying to identify the murderer and watching all the different musical numbers. “Best time of my life,” she said.
Garnering an audience of over 60 Tri-Valley residents, the MurDECA Mystery talent show became Foothill DECA’s most successful fundraiser.
“The show was a huge undertaking consisting of several components, executed in a short time frame. It truly would not have been possible without the officer team’s support. I learned so much and had a really fun experience organizing this,” said Foothill DECA administrative assistant Preksha Jain, who organized the show.
The show’s funds partially went towards the DECA team’s annual competition trip to the International Career Development Conference in Atlanta. This year, Foothill DECA also pledged 50% of proceeds to support local charity Rooms of Hope, which provides custom bedroom makeovers to young children with life-threatening illnesses.
By the end of the event, Foothill DECA members raised and donated a total of $1,120 to Rooms of Hope, according to student director of communications Rushil Sahai.
“I feel very grateful to receive the opportunity to donate to such a wonderful organization. The amount of money raised for this charity is solely due to Foothill DECA’s wonderful advisor and officer team. Without their successful planning this event would not have been possible. Most importantly I am proud that our donations are going to such a noble cause,” Sahai told the Weekly.