CANTON — Superintendent Derek Folan and Principal Jeff Sperling are pleased to share the success of the Canton High School DECA Chapter after it was launched earlier this school year.
The chapter was started by Hannah Wang, a senior at Canton High School, who learned about DECA from friends at nearby schools. Wang began working at the end of the 2020-2021 school year to plan and coordinate a chapter, and asked AP Microeconomics teacher Adam Maislen to be the chapter’s adviser. Maislen lends the chapter valuable knowledge in business and math.
In its first year, the Canton High School DECA Chapter welcomed seven members — seniors Alexis Kam, Raynia Paul, Chris Pho and Wang; junior Kitana Le-Garcia; and freshmen Pranav Addanki and Anthony Wang.
DECA is a nonprofit high school business and marketing organization that prepares young leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management. DECA serves both high school and college students with over 152,000 members and 3,400 chapters internationally.
DECA prepares members to be college and career ready, helping members develop skills in problem-solving and leadership. The organization supports classroom instruction and connects schools to real world experiences, helping students apply their learning through project-based activities that require creative solutions with practical outcomes in an authentic business context.
A central part of the DECA program is the opportunity members have to attend leadership and competitive conferences around the state and country throughout the year. These conferences give students a realistic insight into the industry and the opportunity to engage with professionals and demonstrate their knowledge and skill.
At competitive conferences, students choose to compete in role-play, scenario-based events; written and prepared events; or online events. Dozens of competitive event options are available to students, allowing them to compete within the DECA Career Cluster they are most interested in. Students then work through their role-play or present their written project in front of judges who are industry professionals and/or DECA alumni.
Competitions begin at the District level where students compete against students from other high schools in the area. Competitors can then advance to the State level and to the International level. All seven Canton DECA members competed this year at the District Career Development Conference in individuals series events. Of the seven competitors, six qualified for the State Career Development Conference (SCDC) and five attended the conference. Hannah Wang and Pho also qualified for the International Career Development Conference (ICDC) which occurred in Atlanta, Georgia from April 23-26, but did not attend.
“Our whole chapter, myself included, learned a lot about DECA and all it has to offer students in our first year,” Maislen said. “It gives students experience in problem solving, decision making and public speaking, and helps them to develop many other valuable skills that can prepare them and set them apart in their futures. Hannah did a great job launching the chapter and leading this year, and we look forward to expanding on what she has done in our next year.”
Throughout the coming months and into next school year, Canton DECA will be working to increase its involvement in the community, holding fundraisers and encouraging more students to join. As the oldest returning member for the 2022-2023 school year, Le-Garcia has already begun the process of transitioning into a leadership role.
“The real-world experience, skills and networking opportunities DECA offers students is phenomenal and we are excited to have DECA here at Canton High School,” Principal Sperling said. “We are looking forward to the chapter’s growth and continued success in the coming years.”