By Charlotte Vierling, Contributing Writer (‘20)

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Every year, thousands of NJ DECA members congregate in Atlantic City, NJ for the State Career Development Conference (SCDC). Whether they are competing in an individual, team, or written event, these DECA members avidly pursue getting a place in ICDC, or the International Conference, in their states journey. Taking place from March 4 – March 6, the students had a fantastic time competing alongside fellow NJ members, participating in “Downtown Deca”, and meeting up with their friends at the competition.

The nationally-recognized DECA organization prepares students in topics such as hospitality, marketing, and finance – all elements essential for emerging leaders who wish to pursue a career in business. In fact, “90% of DECA members believe that their experience helped them become an effective leader, and connect topics in school to the real world.” This DECA season has been overwhelmingly successful, with over 110 Ramapo and Indian Hills students attending SCDC – all of whom performed exceptionally in their categories. Gale Fanale, DECA’s advisor, commented that, “We are very pleased and extremely proud to report that 23 students from Ramapo-Indian Hills DECA medaled in the final rounds of their competitive events at the 2019 New Jersey DECA State Career Development Conference, with 10 students finishing in 1st Place Overall. Additionally, Indian Hills student Stella Bayiokos, NJ DECA’s outgoing Vice President of Public Relations, presented a very successful conference. Also, please congratulate Indian Hills sophomore Cayla Coleburn, who was elected as NJ DECA’s next Northern Region Vice President!” Indian Hills’ Decateers executed their role plays and written-event presentations at the highest quality level, leading to an outstanding number of students placing first in their categories. Kira Cuneo (‘19), along with her partner, Emma Moorman (‘19) qualified first place in their category, Sports and Entertainment Marketing Team Decision Making. Kira is, “absolutely amazed” at RIH’s success at SCDC and commented that, “I am so proud of all of my fellow Deca members who are going to Orlando, Florida this April! The conference was a lot of fun for everyone, with tons of opportunities to win prizes, participate in challenges, and get involved.” These ICDC qualifiers include Tiffany Becker, Harrison Chen, Nicholas Capirossi, Charlotte Vierling, Kalina Mesrobian, Sidney Strickland, Ashley Lubas, Meredith Marden, and Cayla Coleburn.

The RIH students who attended states had a wonderful time and avidly supported Sophomore Cayla Coleburn’s campaign to become Northern Region Vice President (NRVP). Coleburn agreed that states was an amazing experience, acknowledging that “I am extremely grateful for all of Indian Hills’, especially Ms. Fanale’s and Stella Bayokois’s help in my campaign. I’m really excited to represent Hills as Team 59’s Northern Region Vice President.” Indian Hills is extremely proud of both Cayla, and all of its driven DECA members who qualified for nationals this coming April. The RIH trip to Atlantic City was nothing less than educational, enjoyable, and victorious. Indian Hills applauds its bright Decateers for their success at States and sends its congratulations to all who competed!