Hornell High School Students Excel at DECA State Career Conference

Hornell High School Students Excel at DECA State Career Conference

Three students from Hornell High School showcased their business talent and competitive spirit at the recent DECA State Career Conference held from March 6-8 in Rochester, NY. With over 2,900 students participating, this conference marked one of the largest gatherings in recent memory for the organization.

Amaya Hoffman, Russell Gage, and Matthew Robinson represented Hornell High School with pride and determination. Amaya competed in the Entrepreneurship Individual Series event, where she demonstrated her skills through two intense role plays evaluated by judges. Meanwhile, Russell and Matt formed a formidable team in the Entrepreneurship Team event, impressing judges with their collaborative approach to a challenging business scenario. Their outstanding performance earned Russell and Matt medals for placing in the top 10 in their event’s role play—a significant achievement amidst tough competition.

DECA, an organization dedicated to preparing emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management, provided an ideal platform for these students to hone their skills and showcase their talents. Founded in 1946, DECA has evolved into an international powerhouse with over 225,000 members worldwide, empowering students to succeed in the ever-changing business landscape.

At the conference, participants faced rigorous challenges in their respective events. Each student received a role play with a specific business situation and had a limited time to prepare their responses—10 minutes for individual series events and 20 minutes for team events. Their performances were then evaluated based on performance indicators, testing their ability to think critically, communicate effectively, and demonstrate sound business judgment under pressure.

Pamela Mendel, faculty advisor for Hornell High School’s DECA chapter, expressed her enthusiasm for the organization’s impact on students’ academic and professional development. “I brought DECA here to teach students business and marketing concepts and to be able to use those skills in business situations. I feel DECA is an asset to our Business program here at Hornell High School. It prepares our students for any business career,” she said.

For the students, the DECA State Career Conference was not just a competition but also a valuable learning experience. Matt Robinson shared his thoughts on the event, highlighting the opportunities for networking, learning, and personal growth. “It was a great experience! We had a lot of fun learning about the business world through talking to other delegates and going to workshops,” he said. “DECA and Mrs. Mendel did a really nice job of making sure that everything we needed was taken care of and that everything ran smoothly. Overall, it was a really enlightening experience, and I’ll definitely be back next year.” 

As Hornell High School celebrates the achievements of its DECA participants, it also looks forward to nurturing future business leaders and fostering a culture of excellence in entrepreneurship and marketing education. With dedicated students like Amaya, Russell, and Matt leading the way, the school’s DECA chapter continues to make its mark on the regional and national stage, embodying the spirit of innovation, teamwork, and success.