Twenty enterprising students who are part of the DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) chapter at VHS traveled to Cherry Hill, New Jersey last week for several days to compete against students from high schools across the state. These were the winners of regional competitions that required students to take exams and write papers in fields such as automotive services, apparel, retail merchandising, food marketing, law, sports and advertising. In Cherry Hill, the students presented and defended their papers and participated in informal competitions such as talent shows and a “Guitar Hero” competition organized by Verona students.
According to faculty advisor Joel Throne, state finalists from Verona include Filip Babalievsky, Paul Corrente, Marc Cortese, Tara Meade and Gopi Patolia, who was also the overall third place winner. Babalievsky, Emma Newkirk, Nic Freschi and Vicky Yeh placed first in the written event as well. Bina Nayee received the Northern Region Coordinators Scholarship and the State DECA Scholarship.
This year, since there was no money available for DECA in the Board of Education budget, all the funds for the trip were raised by the students. One source was the proceeds of the high school store, which sells school supplies and is run by Babalievsky and a crew of student workers; the other was profits from the recent presentation at the high school by Skylr Monaghan, a professional hypnotist.
The trip is well worth it, for the lessons the kids learn in the social as well as academic arenas. “The students enjoy meeting and mingling with students with similar interests,” says Throne. “Some students make friends that they keep for a year, or forever.”