DECA Wins Big Upstate!

Amelia Tisk, Contributing Writer

On February 25, 2020, eight students, (myself included) and two teachers departed Amityville Memorial High School and made their way upstate to Rochester, NY.  After a nine-hour drive, we arrived at the Radisson Rochester Hotel, where there were hundreds of other students assembled in the lobby. It was quite intimidating to see the amount of people who would be competing in the competition, but we decided to get settled and get a good night’s sleep so that we were ready for the conference to start the next day.

The next morning, some students got an early start, while others decided to sleep in.  The conference officially started in the evening, so there was still some time to unwind and prepare for events.  Before we all left for Rochester, all participants were required to take an online 100-question multiple choice test, and this test counted for half of our score for the state competition.  The other half of our scores came from the role-playing that would happen at the conference. Some students had one role-play, while others had two, depending on the event they were participating in.

My event was one of the first events to compete, so I departed from our group, and made my way to my role-play.  I was quite nervous, since I have never competed in a role-play before, but I was determined to do my best. Competitors sit down where the sign is for their event, and wait for an advisor to take you to the back room where you prepare.  You are supplied with scrap paper and a prompt, and you get 15 minutes to come up with what you want to say. After that, you go to your judge, who is participating in the role-play with you. You compete for about 5-10 minutes, and then the judge scores you based on your performance.  The entire time I had butterflies in my stomach, but I think I did well, considering how nervous I felt. 

There were many events at this conference, and when students were not competing, there were various activities they could participate in.  One night we had an ice cream social, and another night there was a Kahoot competition. There was also a game and activity center called ‘The Hub’, where most students ended up going.  The first night of competition ended with ice cream, and we all went back to our rooms to sleep and get ready for the next day, since the majority of our group had their events in the morning.  

The next day was quite eventful. I was done competing, and so were 3 other members of our group, so we decided to go to the Hub to pass time while everyone else competed.  It was supposed to be a laid-back day for us, but suddenly all the teachers barricaded the doors and wouldn’t let anyone out of the room. More and more students were ushered into the Hub and we were all confused and wanted to know what was going on.  We got a text from our advisor, telling us that the hotels were on lockdown, and no one was allowed to leave the Hub. It was apparent that many students started to freak out, and all of the events that were supposed to be happening weren’t happening.  This was not something that has ever happened before at DECA. It turned out that there was a suspicious van parked outside a government building across the street from the hotel. The entire block went on lockdown as the Rochester Bomb Squad responded to the scene.  

An hour-and-a-half later, we were let out of the Hub, lockdown officially over, and all of the events were pushed back for the day.  They had all students that didn’t participate in their events yet go compete, and dinner was pushed back later. It was quite crazy, but we were thankful that there was no bomb and that nobody got hurt.  Everyone finished competing, and then we went to dinner, where there was a ‘lip sync battle’ to entertain us while we ate. It was quite interesting to see some of our competitors on stage acting the opposite of professional.  It was fun, especially after the crazy day that we had.

After the lip sync battle we were able to go back to our hotel rooms and unwind a bit while we packed.  Award ceremonies were to take place the next day, where we would find out if any of us won anything, and then we would have to get on the bus and go home.  

It was even more nerve-wracking in the morning while we were eating breakfast, waiting to see if we won anything.  It was the 4th time that Amityville has participated in the New York State DECA competition, but no one has ever placed at states before.  I was nervous because our group kept saying throughout the conference that either myself, or Misha were sure to win something. There was quite a bit of pressure.  

But we pulled through. Amelia Tisk and I placed top ten in the test of my event, Principles of Hospitality and Tourism,  and Misha Ankudovych, placed top ten in the test and overall in his event, Principles of Business Management and Administration. 

I was so excited, and so was our advisor, Ms. Schweigert, who worked so hard over the past three years with DECA in Amityville.  DECA is an amazing organization and I am so thankful that I was able to be part of this club. I wish I joined earlier, but I didn’t join until my senior year, so sadly my first


 year of DECA was my last.  DECA is an important part of our school and an amazing opportunity for everyone.

Sadly, DECA’s season is over and you can’t really join the club now (since school has been closed) but next school year, DECA is open to all students and is a club that looks great on your resume.  This year we had our first winners, but next year we might have our first person to go to nationals!  

If you have any questions about DECA, you could email our advisor, Mrs. Schweigert at [email protected] or in POA when we get back to school.