Submitted By: Timothy Lee (Written in: 2013)
The Following School Year
During the end of the last school year, I learned about a business club in Monta Vista called DECA. They offered a “business boot camp” which enabled new freshmen students to taste what the club offered and experience a sample conference in which these new members competed in. I never expected that I would join a club at Monta Vista, or even look into these competitions related with business, but somehow, for some reason, I did. Little did I expect what I would gain from these conferences to come, and the competitions I would participate in. DECA has been a amazing experience for me, and when I look back, I have yet to regret the decision.
During the summer after 8th grade, when the time came, I was reluctant to go into the “Business Boot Camp”. When the day arrived, I dragged myself out of bed, ate breakfast, and, tired, I wobbled into the car. When I arrived at Monta Vista, I was greeted by a young gentlemen who instructed us on what we were to do. I executed these instructions and found my way to the library where all the others were, who were all chatting away and anxious of the day’s events. I sat with a small group of friends and sat waiting for the day to begin. Not long after, we were all separated into groups consisting of about ten individuals each. In these groups, we were greeted and given gifts by our mentors (officers) who soon after also began to tell us of what we were to expect. The following days went by faster than light, but one particular experience stood out to me, the role play competition. Here, we were given a mere ten minutes to prepare and jot notes in which we were to use when presenting. The notes we took were based on four “performance indicators” which the judge will look for and grade you upon (as well as other factors). We each took the role of a intern and the judge was the executive director, and as nervous as we were, we still spake and completed the new daunting task. A selected group of individuals who performed well were called upon for a second competition, and I was among the few. In the second competition, I stuttered in words, and failed to address the points, and was not among the finalists. However, I gained a sense of hope, one that would drive me through my further adventures in DECA, and it eventually brought me quite far.
After “Business Boot Camp” school began and I once again returned to an idle state in the club. I still attended meetings, but I lost interest in the activities and deemed them too difficult to even attempt. Soon came the first (non-competitive) conference in which the officers at DECA tried to drag me into. I, however, sat like a stone and skipped out of this first conference. Then came the second conference, Silicon Valley Career Development Conference (SVCDC), the one I was eventually persuaded into at the last minute. Here, I choose the roleplay category of “Principles of Hospitality and Tourism” (PHT) which was restricted to first-year members only. Although I studied for a different category at study sessions, and never even practiced, I won 1st place in the presentation portion, and 2nd overall for PHT. The motivation gained from this event was incredible and I realized that I may be able to excel in roleplay events. On the trip back from SVCDC I dreamed of the future and had a great hope within my heart.
This motivation soon persuaded me into becoming a more active member in DECA. Not long after came the second conference, California State Career Development Conference (SCDC), which I promptly decided to sign up for. As a conference for the entire state, the competition was fierce and required some preparation in order to do well. I practiced for my roleplay event many times, and soon enough, I felt comfortable with the format. When the time came for my roleplay presentation, I tried my best, gave countless examples that supported my point, had a near perfect posture and tone, and I was excited of how successful this roleplay has been. But then, as I thought back, I realized that I had forgotten the closing handshake! Without this handshake, I presume, a horrible impression must have been left behind to the judge, and, as a consequence, the role play’s quality was greatly decreased. At the closing ceremony I did make it into the top ten for the event, but to my disappointment, I did not qualify for Internationals.
Although my performance was lacking during SCDC, I have learned from my previous mistakes lessons that I would know what to do without. One thing that I learned when speaking was that in order to be persuasive you must be confident. From DECA I have gained business experience, self-confidence when speaking, and found a new club that I enjoyed being a part of. Although I was at first hesitant and inactive in this business club, I plan to continue this journey with DECA throughout my years in high school for never have I gained a plethora of speaking skills at such a rate as I did in DECA. DECA has been a amazing experience for me and if it was not because of those officers pushing and helping me, I would have missed out in a experience of a lifetime and never realize it until it is too late. I realized that persistence and dedication is essential to success and I plan to try my best in the following year. To me, DECA was a ride that was well worth it, and it would have been very regretful decision if I was to have quit.