Virtual Winners

DECA continues a legacy of success in virtual competitions all year

submitted by Cheryl Shea

As with just about every student activity this year, in the classrooms, on the fields and after school, the Pinnacle (PHS) chapter of DECA, a co-curricular organization that prepares emerging leaders for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management, faced a year of unprecedented competitions. At the end of February, PHS DECA members competed against other schools all over Arizona in their annual state competition. This competition started on February 14 till February 27, with kids showing off their skills in topics like Marketing, Business, Hospitality and Tourism, or Finance. In the end, 44 PHS DECA members qualified for international competition, where they faced other members from all around the globe. 

 “Normally we would have three competitions: District, State, and International competitions,” said sophomore Alok Shah. “Since Covid, we were unable to do district so Pinnacle DECA actually created their own competition this year. So what we did was we had our own district competition, at school, with just the Pinnacle DECA kids. Then we were able to hand-deliver the awards to the participants afterwards. We had over 60 competitors and it was a great experience for everyone.”          

The DECA team then competed in the next stage of competition, State. 

“State we did virtually, so basically everyone just sends in videos instead of presenting in front of a judge,” said sophomore Alivia Lubenow. “It’s really hard to make a connection with a judge and show your personality through a video.” 

Competing in front of an experienced judge proves difficult in a traditional setting, but competing in front of one on a computer really amps it up. 

This year’s state conference was held over a 2 week period. Starting with written business proposal submissions, a 100 question comprehensive exam, role-play case-study video creation and uploads, then virtual final uploads. It all culminated in the closing ceremonies,” said DECA advisor Mrs. Shea.

PHS DECA brought the largest group of competitors to the state competition with 58 students competing in one or more categories of competition at the State competition.

¨The officer team decided it would be an excellent idea to have an in-person watch party for the award ceremony, to create a usual conference feel,¨ said officer, junior Justin Doyle. 

Like most events this year, some students attended the watch party in person while many others joined online, from home. At the party, competitors received awards they earned this year and found out the qualifiers for the International Career Development Conference (ICDC). The PHS DECA team members finished State with 22 finalists, 44 international qualifiers and 14 test medals. 

During two weeks beginning at the end of April, the 44 qualified competitors spent many afternoons and quite a few evenings in a virtual competition.  Five of those ICDC competitors became finalists and one made PHS DECA history.

“Well, after 14 years since I started the Pinnacle DECA chapter and taking over 350 competitors to DECA’s International Career Development Conference, we’ve gotten our first 1st Place trophy winner,” Shea said. “Senior Abhi Desai won first amongst 180 International finalists in the area of Business Services Marketing.”

In a year of competition in a format never imagined in years past, PHS DECA continued its legacy of excellence.



Submitted by Cheryl Shea, featuring club members and ICDC 1st place winner, Abhi Desai (12).