North Star News

Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

North Star News

Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

North Star News

Niles North DECA caps off a successful year at national competition in Anaheim

Sam Dababneh

This past weekend, Niles North’s DECA chapter, one of over 3,000 schools that are a part of the student business organization, competed at their national competition. For 19 DECA members, it was the culmination of a year’s worth of work. The DECA season begins with over 100 competing members of the club. By the time the regional competition in January is done, that number is nearly halved. By the time the state competition in March is done, only one third of the remaining 60 qualify for nationals. What remains are 19 students who have put in tireless work and dedication, assisted by good fortune, into evolving year long projects and endeavors.

This year’s competition was in Anaheim, CA and housed over 22.000 students from all over the country to compete in events that test commercial skills and foster young business minds. For some DECA members, that was a Shark-Tank-esque business proposal plan that had been brainstormed, written up, and vigorously workshopped for months to be orally presented to judges. For others, it was a role-play competition which gives a student a staged business situation to act out with a judge and gives the student only 10 minutes beforehand to prepare their approach, a crucial test of ability to think spontaneously and critically. While those are some of the most common competitions, DECA offers many more.

Five finalists reached the national stage. Seniors Teo Dalangin and Mohammad Makda, placed in the top 20 internationally in the Financial Literacy Project, senior Shrey Dalal placed in the top 20 internationally in the Accounting Applications Series, and all three went on to compete in the second round of competition. Junior Avery Ermel achieved top 20 internationally on the roleplay portion in the Principles of Business Administration Event, and junior Jack Jaminski achieved top 20 internationally in the finance cluster test for the Financial Consulting Event. 

Jaminski is one of Niles North DECA’s most accomplished members and the vice president of the chapter, as well as an occasional guest columnist for North Star News, but he remains hungry. “Next year, Niles North DECA has its eyes set on getting students to the top-3 finalist stage, and getting that DECA glass trophy,” he told North Star News. Nonetheless he is proud of what the chapter accomplished, “DECA ICDC 2024 was a great end to an amazing competition season. We want to show our great appreciation and thanks for our advisors, Mrs. Attig, Mr. Pahl, Ms. Mielke, and Ms. Torres, who chaperoned this amazing trip, and helped us to get to where we are now.”

But those who walked away with medals aren’t the only ones who won big at nationals. Sophomore Cesar Vargas reflects fondly on the competition, “Nationals was a great experience. We got to talk to a diverse group of people coming from literally everywhere. People from all 50 states, as well as India, Spain, and Canada.” He has his eyes set on returning next year, telling North Star News, “What you put in is what you get out, and we put hours into our project. I hope to see myself at nationals meeting new people again and gaining experience. Next year, Orlando, Florida will surely be even more exciting and eventful than next year’s nationals location.” 

The preparation before competing can be  nerve-wracking and stressful, practicing presentation down a tee, not only dialogue but body language and vocal inflection. But after the competition, DECA members got the chance to decompress and enjoy the sights and sites of Southern California. The chapter got to spend a day at Universal Studios and Disneyland theme parks, as well as walk down Hollywood Boulevard.

Closing off another successful year, DECA cements itself as one of the hardest-working and accomplished clubs and activities at Niles North. All Niles North students enrolled in a business class are eligible for DECA. Whether you are already interested in business, or just want to explore a future career path, consider joining Niles North DECA next year so you can give your shot at the competition, and hopefully make it to next year’s nationals in Orlando, FL.

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About the Contributor
Sam Dababneh
Sam Dababneh, Review Editor & Asst. Sports Editor
Sam Dababneh is a Sophmore at Niles North High school. This is his second year on North Star News.

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