Evanston hopes for another great year of DECA

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After last year’s major success, DECA hopes to send as many kids to state and nationals as they can.

“DECA provides students with skills to use in the real world, by having students participate in role plays that are real world situations,” explained David Feeley, co-sponsor of DECA. “It can be something as simple as interviewing for an internship to something as difficult as acting like a lawyer who has to deal with a sexual harassment claim. The kids are given factual scenarios and then they have to go in front of judges and present their case.”

This year, besides the two co-sponsors, Feeley and Gary Haller, a career and technical education teacher here at ETHS, the DECA team has a new addition. Christopher Manila, a former Naperville North DECA coach and a new teacher, has joined the team. Naperville’s DECA teams are strong competitors, but Feeley is hopeful that his team will do well this year.

“This year, I think the students will be prepared better for both role plays and taking exams,” said Feeley, “but more kids around the nation are getting involved with DECA, so the competition just gets harder and harder each year.”

Right now the team is focusing on practicing and preparing for their three upcoming conferences, regionals in January, state in March, and nationals in early May. ETHS’s squad is one of the largest; about 50 students will go to regionals, and to further rounds if they qualify.

“Our area conference, which will have about 1,400 to 1,500 students, is right after finals in January,” said Feeley. “There will be about 25 different events that students will be competing in; a student can only compete in one event. Some students will compete individually and some will compete as a team.”

Last year, ETHS was lucky enough to have Andrew Bempah, senior, who placed fourth in nationals against hundreds of competitors. Last year, several ETHS students also finished in the top ten in the state.