Gunn DECA Team reflects on recent competition in Anaheim

From March 3 to 6, members of the Gunn Business competition team competed in the state Distributive Education Clubs of America competitions in Anaheim.

DECA is an organization that holds business conferences that offer students the opportunity to learn about business and engage in real-world situations. To prepare for the events such as roleplays, exams and written presentations, the team met during weekly lunch meetings and during PRIME. “I personally take a lot of practice exams and use other online resources,” club President senior Sunny Peng said. “It’s just like studying for an exam.”

The team is led by a group of upperclassmen, who explain the events and give feedback in small clusters. DECA chapter president Claire Xu remembers preparing for the competition with the help of her mentors in past years. “I got most of my help from our mentoring system, which was set up way before (I) got here,” she said. “I was paired up with someone who knew personal finance and had done it for a few years. Just learning from someone who has experienced really helped.”

One challenge that comes with participating in competitions like the one in Anaheim is the time commitment. Many members, including Xu, found it difficult to study for DECA while also handling the workload from school and other extracurriculars. “Studying on my own is pretty time-consuming, so balancing schoolwork and the competition is definitely a challenge, but I think we’ve gotten better at it,” Xu said.

However, DECA can be a positive experience that teaches students valuable skills. “I became a lot more confident in my abilities by participating in competitions and I also became a quicker thinker because you have to be put on the spot,” Peng said.
In addition, team members get to meet other participants from all over the state and build relationships during their free time. For DECA chapter vice-president Jasmine Wang, these relationships make all the effort worth it. “Not only can you apply what you learn, it’s also really fun because you get to meet new people, make friends and you get to travel together to Disneyland,” she said.

After four days, the state competition came to a close. Peng was proud of the whole team, even if members didn’t place, for navigating the new environment. “It was a super new experience for everyone because there were schools from all over the state that came and competed,” she said. “Overall, I think our chapter did super well. We had a lot of finalists and three people going to internationals, which is the next step.”

Sophomore Hannah Kim was one of the three participants who qualified for the International Career Development Conference in April. After a positive experience at the state competition, Kim is looking forward to the International Career Development Conference. “I am most excited about meeting new people around the globe, as well as reconnecting with old friends I know from different parts of the U.S.,” she said. “I honestly think the most difficult part of the trip would be catching up on all the homework I missed, but besides that, you’ll find me counting down the days until ICDC.”