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2024 DECA Recap

May 13, 2024
By Mark Risen

With the conclusion of the International Career Development Conference (ICDC) DECA season has come to a close for our beloved Cavaliers! But, what a year to be a Cavalier in Blanchet DECA!

We opened the year with our DECA Orientation Day in late October and to our delight, 117 of our approximately 230 high school students signed up for DECA! Over the next three months, we trained every Wednesday on our WeDECAdays, rehearsing role plays, practicing exams and preparing projects and presentations as we focused on the state championships held in Mid-February.

In early December, our DECA members had the unique opportunity to attend the inaugural DECA Champ Camp held at the University of Oregon. With six Cavaliers in attendance, and nationally acclaimed business teachers and DECA trainers leading the sessions, we grew even more excited about the season lying ahead as our Cavaliers quickly jumped to the head of the pack in preparing a presentation, delivering a role play, and finding tips and tricks for taking exams! Claire Raffensperger, Ben Alley, Ben Eugenio, Tyler Millican, Carter Mucken, Katrina Lourenco, Nhi Huynh and Tanveer Singh led the CAVS contingents showing off some serious DECA prowess to other statewide DECA members and our national trainers!

We resumed our WeDECAdays coming off the holiday break, and then we were honored to help the East Salem Rotary with their annual fundraising gala. Such a spectacle to see many of Salem's finest leaders in attendance, as our Cavaliers helped set up, serve, and clear tables while rubbing elbows with many of Salem and Oregon's most influential leaders! 

As we rolled into February, we held our annual District Competition in which 70 of our Cavaliers competed! With a huge shout-out “thank you” to our fifteen parents and staff volunteers for making DECA Districts such a huge success, to the kids being dressed to impress, testing, and taking their dress rehearsal in presenting role plays, our district competition was yet another hallmark moment of our year! Congratulations to our testing champions; Kyla Deglow, Emily Barnett, Ben Eugenio, Mitchell Wort, Koren Ickes-Amend and Holden Prine on showcasing how well they know marketing, business, finance, hospitality and entrepreneurship! Joining them on the podium were our all-star role-play competitors including; Holden Prine, Griffen Mucken, Riley Pratt, Jacob Fromwiller, Josh Grossman, Scarlett Prine and Eilee Mucken. 

Our State Career Development Conference (SCDC), or the DECA state championships, followed on Feb. 12, and as has become the norm, nearly 80 Cavaliers attended! With so many Cavs competing against an enlarged field of other Oregon students (400 more than last year), the competition was grueling! But, our Cavaliers hung strong with nearly 40 students finishing in the Top 20 statewide, and Claire Raffensperger, Hap Freres, Max Quintero, Holden Prine, Tyler Millican, Tanveer Singh, Ben Alley and Scarlett Prine earning automatic bids to ICDC by finishing in the Top 3 in the State of Oregon in their respective competitions! Additional ICDC Cavalier qualifiers included Ava Johnson, Rafael Rodriguez, Carter Mucken, Katrina Lourenco, Nhi Huynh, Josh Mosar, Sam Mosar, Carolina Lim, Noah Carpenter, Kyla Deglow, Mitchell Wort, Koren Ickes-Amend, Max Weber, Grace Weber, Brooklyn Ries, Bill Riecke, Joe Beyer, Emily Barnett, Camryn Carney, Rieve Randall, Raquelle Hendrix, Franchesca Ruiz-Romero, Eilee Mucken, Asher Freres and Patrick Walsh initially qualifying for ICDC with at large bids. Uniquely, Scarlett Prine was awarded a spot in DECA ICDC leadership academy, an award only granted to eight applicants! To say that Scarlett learned a lot from that experience would be a grand understatement and we are excited to see her bring those lessons back to BCS and make Cavalier Nation even stronger!

With so many Cavaliers qualifying for nationals and fourteen able to attend, the mood around getting to ICDC in Anaheim was nothing short of electric! Departing on April 26 the Cavalier contingent departed with Mr. and Mrs. Risen, Ms. Willbur, Mrs. Christina Weber, Mrs. Lena Prine, and Mrs. Trisha Freres! To say that Mrs. Prine, Weber and Freres were anything short of amazing surrogate parents on the trip would be an incredible understatement! We certainly owe them, and Ms. Willbur, the greatest of THANK YOU’S for all of their efforts in supporting and attending to our ICDC attendees! And, just when we thought we were set up for an outstanding ICDC, even more great news came as Max Quintero won the Oregon DECA Pin Design Contest! Max designed the trading pin that the entire 283 representatives from Oregon, as well as advisors and chaperons, would trade with some 25,000 attendees, each association of the 65 in attendance bringing their own pin to trade as well! Little did we know, however, that Max’s Oregon pin would be in such high demand and was loved by people from all fifty states and the fifteen nations that also sent competitors! Way to go Max!

This ICDC would turn out to be slightly bittersweet, however. As Max, and all of our BCS kids were basking in the glow of Max’s design and the demand for the Oregon pin, we were saying goodbye to Tanveer Singh who was wrapping up his second straight year as president of Oregon DECA! An amazing leader, Tanveer represented himself, his family, BCS and Oregon with the utmost integrity and ambassadorship anyone could ever ask for, and was invited on stage at the closing ceremony at ICDC to also receive a large scholarship on behalf of DECA! But, the sweetness got just a little sweeter when Hap Freres, Max Quintero and Holden Prine made the ICDC finals in their entrepreneurship event with their invention, LifeDex! To put this in perspective, there were approximately 1,000 finalists from the 65 different associations and hundreds of thousands of DECA members worldwide and there they were, our three Cavaliers standing shoulder to shoulder with the best in the world! What an accomplishment and huge congratulations to the three of them on such an amazing accomplishment!

From Disney’s California Adventure, to Huntington Beach and Knotts Berry Farm, roller coasters, 20th century movie themes and beautiful peers, let alone DECA testing, role plays and meetings, it was truly the trip of a lifetime for our Cavaliers! Bravo to our kids, endless thanks to all of our DECA parents, staff and administrators, and until next time, GO CAVS!

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