MSD DECA members pose in front of the District Awards Ceremony stage in January of 2020: (left to right) Hunter Dorman, Lexie Sealy, Mandi Jaffe, Mitchell Albert, Anne Pretner, Lexi Tracton, and Jacob Foster.

By Ivy Lam

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s DECA program has broken a record for the 2020-21 school year.

DECA has over 250 students at MSD qualifying to compete at the 61st Annual Florida DECA Career Development Conference. This is around a 25 percent increase in numbers from last year, and students and advisors alike are ecstatic to see what they can achieve this year.

As one of the three DECA advisors, Lisa Webster, Academy of Finance teacher, said they were all extremely proud of their students’ hard work in their papers, projects, and testing events.

Winners at the district level are typically determined by their papers, test scores, and presentations. Those who do well in the Broward region, typically the top 15, advance to the next level.

Traditionally, the state competition is held in Orlando, where dozens of DECA chapters from across Florida come together to compete. However, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event will be held virtually in March.

Since the event will be online, students will record and upload their presentations and roleplays, which will be judged against other competitors in their respective events. Many members have been working towards this moment for months.

“For my event, I spent over 100 hours researching, writing, and preparing my paper, really thinking about how to take my paper to the next level,” said Lexie Sealy, co-president of DECA. “When I made it to states, I was so excited. I worked extra hard this year because I wanted to end my senior year by making it to state and international competition.”

At MSD, several members make it to the state level more than once. Knowing this, many hope to make it to the highest level at the International Career Development Conference, which was supposed to be held in Anaheim, California, this year. This special occasion is also virtual.

Lexi Tracton, DECA co-president, said this was her fourth and final time making it to the state competition.

“Our international competition was canceled last year, but I hope to place in the top 20 in the world this year. Even though this year is virtual, I’m really looking forward to honing in on the skills I’ve acquired from all these years of competing,’’ said Tracton.

Noting the substantial increase in district winners this year, the advisors and the officer team work around the clock to provide plenty of school activities and online resources to prepare students.

For instance, the officer team created DECA quizzes that mimic real tests from the past, which helped students understand what to expect with the real thing. Along with this, the competition team held Manual Monday’s and Testing Tuesday’s, which allowed members to practice questions and improve their papers.

“Every resource that was given to our members was made specifically to help members practice and understand what they might see when taking the test, understanding the reasoning behind every single question,” said Matthew Veerasammy, vice president of competition.

In addition to the online resources created and organized by the officer team, some members utilized the information they learned from their Hospitality & Tourism or Academy of Finance classes, two branches of the DECA curriculum. Nevertheless, most of the qualifiers look forward to competing and advancing to the international level.

“This was my first time competing, and I’m looking forward to the roleplay section of the state’s competition,” said freshman Arlanni Velez. “It is such an excitement to accomplish something you worked for, and I am looking forward to the upcoming years where I can actually attend the event in person.”

Considering the virtual aspect and the record-breaking number of competitors, the upcoming state competition will be one to remember for MSD’s DECA chapter. Registration for states will start February 5, with the actual event on Tuesday, Mar. 2, during the school day.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas students who qualified for states:

Shom Ahuja
Tyler Aidie
Josephine Alderman
Ashley Alex
Eman Ali
Victoria Alvarez
Muskaan Amin
Jordan Appel
Rebecca Ardity
Daniel Artuza
Merzan Aymaz
Samantha Azar
Savannah Azar
Lucas Balaban
Owen Balaban
Ariella Barbati
Nicholas Bedusa
Connor Benson
Taylor Benson
Alyssa Berke
Emma Betancourt
Pedro Bezerra
Maeyda Bilal
Addison Block
Haley Bohm
Skylar Bons
Alexandre Bouchard
Piper Bourne
Tobiah Bower
Jacey Brauner
Gianna Brock
Carly Brodsky
James Bronzwaig
Samantha Bross
Bella Brown
Myles Browne
Samara Buchanan
Zoe Burrell
Nathan Calamia
Grace Cavaretta
Jia Ying Chen
Caraline Cobb
Tehilla Cohen
Isabella Cristancho
Ethan Cruz
Douglas Da Palma
Lucas Da Palma
Derek Damas
Joshua Davila
Luana De Vecchi
Charlize Debs
Katie DeGregorio
Alexis Delgado
Juliette Denver
Jaycie DeVona
Vincent Dion
Ava DiRenzo
Reagan DiRenzo
Sara Dorfman
Emily Drelick
Ellena Eichstaedt
Camila Escobar
Enrique Escobar
Molly Feldman
Abigail Ferguson
Ashley Ferrer
Madisyn Fierstat
Morgan Fink
Jeremy Fishkin
Carli Fleisher
Andres Flores
Ari Fooksman
Valentina Forbes
Chelsea Forrest
Jacob Foster
Joshua Frais
Carston Frasca
Skylar Gerena
Will Gilroy
Aaron Goffstein
Sophia Golberg
Sophie Goodman
Madeleine Greene
Connor Greep
Walker Greep
Jessica Gucciardi
Daniel Guerrero
Conner Hagan
Madeeha Hanif
Sydney Harris
Eric Hengber
Jonelle Henry
Arielle Hernandez
Stephanie Horowitz
Logan James
Ava Jurick
Tyler Kamel
Maci Kaplan
Ziya Kassam
Drew Kaufman
Jordan Khayyami
Jordyn Klein
Sienna Klein
Blake Koff
Erika Koines
Carli Komroff
Ashley Lage
Kylie Larson
Sasha Lechtenstein
Glory Lee
Jada Lemy
Cynthia Liu
David Lopez
Skylar Lund
Katherine Manzelli
Kellan Markowitz
Sophia Marrone
Josemiguel Marticorena-Carvo
Abby Marton
Dana Masri
Trevor McHoul
Nicholas Melamed
Alexis Miller
Dylan Miller
Nataly Montenegro
Ashley Moskowitz
Mackenzie Muller
Nadia Murillo
Taylor Murray
Emily Nash
Ryan Nemeth
Ryan Newman
Aneesha Nookala
Tyler Novik
Blake Ofstein
Lauren Ofstein
Justin Ojah-Maharaj
Isabella Ortega
Haley Pagliai
Luca Pagliai
Isha Patel
Sophia Pemble
Tomas Pereira
Katherine Peterson
Maegan Pierre
Ava Poirier
Chase Prasad
Alexis Presno
Anne Pretend
Mia Rafaeli
Jack Rappaport
Cameron Raymond
Drew Reisner
Landon Reuter
Ian Richard
Jordan Robertson
Sofia Roosli
Lexi Rose
Ethan Rosenstack
Kaleela Rosenthal
Sofia Rothenberg
Evan Rubenstein
Lawrence Russinoff
Amaya Sachs
Hanni Sachs
Kylie Sack
Mazen Sadat
Kayla Sahadeo
Devyn Sanders
Fabio Savino
Sebastian Savino
Alexa Schulman
Joshua Schwartz
Alexis Sealy
Alexander Segelnick
Taylor Serbin
Gianna Sgammato
Luke Shay
Ryan Shinn
Madison Shostack
Benjamin Shultz
Kayla Sibble
Renata Silva
Harrison Sparaco
Zachary Spiegel
Bryce Spindel
Aiden Spitzer
Gianna Squiccirini
Geetanjali Srivastava
Jessie Stein
Eli Steinhardt
Rebecca Stember
Jamie Strauss
Alex Streisand
Ananyaa Sutaria
Katelyn Taylor
Sean Thureson
Lily Tomek
Alexis Tracton
Steven Trejos
Riley Tromer
Brett Unger
Grace Vadakkel
Zachary Valdes
Matthew Veerasammy
Thomas Velastegui
Arlanni Velez
Giuliana Venturini
Jolie Wainland
Iliana Waitze Zuckerman
Grace Walker
Claire Wang
Payton Ward
Connor Warfel
Ashlyn Watson
Talya Weinfeld
Ava Weingarten
Zachary Weissman
Rachel Wikander
Daniel Willen
Alex Willis
Brannon Willis
Molly Winkleman
Camden Wong
Yiwen Wu
Payton Yaffe
Christine Yared
Mia Ye
Kelsie Yon
Jillian Zaparaniuk
Jacob Zaslav
Madison Zeltwanger
Ethan Zlochower
Anthony Zurita
Deniz Akyuz
Margaret Allen
Sophia Avron
Olivia Binder
Madison Brian
Jai Wei Chen
Abbie Daniels
Jack Juliano
Brooklynn Koon
Michelle Lapidot
Chanel Lee
Sarah Louis
Evelyn Merkur
Barbara Moreno
Kyle Morse
Julie Mouhica
Lindsay Nattis
Madison Pallone
Marlo Perkins
Theron Piccininni
Ethan Rappaport
Haley Simmons
Kelley Taylor
Taylor Wilson

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Author Profile

Ivy Lam
Ivy Lam
Ivy Lam is a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. This school year, she is a member of multiple honor societies and an executive officer for HOSA and Newspaper. Her favorite pastimes include reading, writing, and volunteering.

Tara David