Following a very successful year at the Massachusetts State DECA Competition, Nashoba sent seventeen competitors to the International Career Development Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. On Saturday, April 21st, this group of students traveled with DECA advisors, Mr. Andreopoulos and Ms. Grigas, to compete with other students from across the country in their business categories.
The competition kicked off on April 22nd. With students in categories ranging from CSP to EIP, Nashoba made its presence known in the Mercedes-Benz arena in Atlanta. Paul Theriault, Co-CEO of the Nashoba DECA officers, competed with his partner, Chase Meininger, in the Entrepreneurship Promotion Project category. Their project was an educational program that Theriault and Meininger designed to teach entrepreneurship to elementary and high school students and those with intellectual challenges. Though Theriault and Meininger had a minor setback at the Massachusetts DECA competition when their score was miscalculated, the team strode into nationals with confidence. Like many other teams, the group prepared by revising their paper, improving their presentation, and, of course, practicing. Theriault explains that “DECA nationals is a lot different from states. Each judge sees between ten and twenty presentations and the individual judges then choose the top two groups that they think are the best to advance to the next round. From there, they narrow down from the top eighteen to the top ten and then to top three”. Though Theriault and Meininger did not advance past the first round, they will receive a certificate for the performance on their papers.
Although, one team from Nashoba did make it past the first round in nationals… Nathan Cunningham and Sophia Greszchuck, who competed in the Entrepreneurship Innovation Plan (EIP) category, advanced to the top eighteen. With nearly 170 other teams competing in their category around the world, this was quite an accomplishment. Their plan, which focused on a physical recovery app, allowed them to compete as finalists for a second time on the 24th. Even though they did not advance, both Nashoba and Massachusetts DECA was proud to be represented in this final round.
Aside from hours and hours of competing and award ceremonies, the members of Nashoba DECA explored the city of Atlanta and had some fun. The group got to visit the World of Coca-Cola, the renowned Atlanta aquarium, and they even met pop star celebrity P!nk. Additionally, advisor Ms. Grigas and competitor Jack Hurd celebrated their birthdays with the rest of the Nashoba team in Atlanta. Overall, the trip was quite eventful, even outside of the actual competition.
Last year, Nashoba sent four competitors to nationals. This year, that number was quadrupled. Though DECA will lose many seniors, there was a strong presence of freshmen and sophomores at the state competition, and many juniors at both States and Nationals. The program was very successful this year, and its future looks bright, too.