SOUTHINGTON — Students from 35 schools across Connecticut gathered in Southington to compete in the 62nd state DECA conference. They were vying for a chance to qualify for the DECA International Career Development Conference in Atlanta in May.
“First, second, and third place go to the international conference,” said Dennis Kelly, the state Distributive Education Clubs of America advisor.
Students took exams on certain areas, were asked to role play in front of judges after given a case problem and presented projects. Before the case problem, students had 10 minutes to prepare their presentation for the judges, Kelly said. Subject areas included business operations research events, marketing and communications, travel and tourism, and sports and entertainment.
“It went really well,” Kelly said.
Ariana Savarino, a junior at Lyman Hall High School in Wallingford, created a poster for her team’s Learn and Earn challenge.
“We had to make a product and sell it,” Savarino said.
“It was different, something to get used to, but I enjoyed it,” said Paige Ciardullo, a Lyman Hall senior who was competing for the first time.
Emily Hussien, a senior at Platt High School in Meriden, was at the state conference last year and felt her team did really well this year.
“We had to do a community service project,” Hussien said.
All the DECA chapters were hoping to gain a spot in the international conference amongst hundreds of competitors.
Because there were 936 students involved in the competition, Kelly said they needed extra space. Along with the Aqua Turf in Plantsville, Mary Our Queen School and the armory were used. At the end of the day, the students gathered back at the Aqua Turf for lunch and awards.
“There were so many kids we had to spread them out,” Kelly said.
Members of the DECA chapter from Southington High School had two of their members waiting to hear if they would be announced as state officers for 2014-15.
“Everyone thought they did well,” said Kylie Sarantides, a senior and president of Southington’s DECA chapter.
Teresa Brooks, the DECA adviser and business teacher at the high school, later Tweeted that both juniors, Katie Martocchio and Emily Lippincott, were announced state officers.
“It’s my first time at states,” Martocchio said. “It was experience I will never forget.”