DECA Headlines

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My DECA Story… Ah, where do I begin? It feels like I have been a part of this organization for ages. It’s funny to think that I started out as a tiny yet curious 8th grader, and now, I am a State officer. My story begins in the fall of my freshman year. School map and schedule in hand, I walked into this cozy little room tucked away in the school which was my 5th hour – the DECA room. I was greeted by this extremely sarcastic lady whom we lovingly called Flan and by one of my biggest mentors ever – former OK DECA State President Labraia Owens. I scanned the walls full of plaques and medals, and right there and then, I decided: I wanted to be a part of that.


So, I attended every chapter meeting, trip, and community service event we had. I made friends that I still talk to this day. Then, CDC came around. I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I was a freshman, and it was my first time at competition. I just shot my shot and had fun with my friends while I was at it. I was so surprised to find out I got 1st in one of my events. I went crazy on the stage when they called my name.


COVID-19 hit. Almost everything shut down and went virtual. I ran my chapter officer campaign later that year virtually. The new year came with a new set of challenges as we tried our best to make the DECA experience as normal as possible during unprecedented times. We had to cancel events and meetings more times than I can count. However, we did not let pandemic break our stride as we hosted those same events and meetings virtually and did whatever we could to keep our members involved. I know I wanted more. I ran for state office. I poured my heart when it came time for elections. I persevered through screenings, interviews, and online campaigning. I am so honored to be a part of Council 79. Being a state officer is one of the most challenging yet rewarding things I have ever done. I love the public speaking, face-to-face interactions, and free food we get, but I also have to write my fair share of emails and blogs! We just wrapped up our first conference and sure enough, we are getting ready for our next one and best one yet! I have come a long way in DECA, but my story is just getting started.


-Aarav Jilka