Students gain real-world business skills

Jan 13, 2020

In addition to the usual English, math, and science, some students at Wareham High School have been learning real-world skills that can help them succeed in their future careers. Many of them have recently put those skills to use by placing in a district-level competition. More than twenty students will be competing at the state level in February.

Distributive Education Clubs of America, or DECA, is a program that promotes confidence, public speaking skills, and quick thinking to prepare students for careers in marketing, finance, and hospitality and management.  

“It’s like taking what you learn in class, and applying it to the real world,” said student Bryan Gallagher. 

With about 75 members, DECA is the biggest club in the school. Students hone their business skills during and after school by studying, taking online quizzes, working at the school store and concession stands, organizing fundraisers, and even competing against other schools in DECA competitions. 

Marketing teacher Lisa Cunha runs the school’s DECA program, and said that the real life applications are the biggest benefit of the club. 

DECA competitions feature a 100-question exam taken within students’ respective schools, and two mock interviews, where students are judged on their responses to questions, and professionalism.  

For each interview, students are given a role play scenario. For example, Gallagher said that in one of his interviews, he played the role of a marketing specialist, while his judge was the owner of a company. 

Forty members of her club competed at the district level in Hyannis on Jan. 9 and 10, and 21 of them will advance to the state competition at the Marriott Hotel in Boston from Feb. 27 to 29. 

Of those, Jasmine Black placed first in both of her interviews, Amaya Anderson placed second in her test, and first in an interview. Gallagher placed first in one interview, and second in another. Khai Delgado also won one of his interviews, and placed second in another.

When not preparing for competitions, Gallagher helps to organize the work schedule and finances for the school’s store, and concession stand. 

He said he enjoys the more hands-on style of learning because “it gives you an idea of what the real world looks like,” as opposed to just reading from a textbook. 

Anderson said she joined the club because of her personal interests, and the encouragement of her teacher. 

“I personally love finance, and so the fact that that’s an opportunity in DECA inspired me to join,” she said. 

She added that Cunha is very active in getting students involved in the club, and that she “sees the potential in everyone.”  

This was Anderson’s first year competing in DECA, and although she was “super anxious” going into her first interview, she said she thinks that “DECA definitely helps you prepare presentation skills, and how to carry yourself in front of a boss, or superior.” 

Anderson said that she hopes to work as a financial analyst, or advisor in the future.

Other students who placed in their respective categories in January were Chloe Hogan, Josh Flaherty, Mollie Johnson, Laura Clements, Haley Goldman, Carlisle Beach, Wayne Parker, Bryce Fernandes, Wylde LaTulippe, Montanna Allen, Natalia Moulding, Julianne Matthews, Indiana Troupe, Jeffrey Goodman, Jason Klemp, Evelyn Chase, and Siobhan O’ Brien.