Online learning has been full of setbacks and major changes for many teams, clubs, and organizations at Camas High School, and DECA is no different. Lots of DECA’s work in the past has relied on in-person competitions, training, fundraising. With the switch to online learning, it has had to adapt to these new circumstances.
To start off the year, DECA had a fundraising event called All Paws On Deck. This event raised over $5,000 for the local humane societies in the Camas area. They also helped the Camas community in other ways as well. Local businesses were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, so in response, DECA helped them increase their presence in the media and online. This way more people could view them from the comfort of their home. DECA also helped them to inform the community on local guidelines.
The main goal of DECA leaders was to keep students engaged.
DECA President and CHS Senior Josef Kiesenhofer said, “Despite being online, we really tried to provide DECA students with a multitude of activities to keep them engaged. After all, we can’t keep thriving as an organization if we aren’t engaging the students.”
Some of the ways it is doing this are by holding virtual study sessions, webinars, and even a few socials. While being online has made DECA much harder, there have been many virtual opportunities that were very well received.
CHS Senior Jasmine Domenech said, “We’ve been focusing a lot more on peer mentorship as well as trying to build friendships and community virtually.”
Competitions have always been a major part of DECA and something that many look forward to. However, this was another thing that DECA students were going to have to learn to workaround. Their preparation came in many different forms. They held meetings, they had experienced students talk about things they learned over the years, or strategies they could apply to their work, and they got feedback on recorded presentations for feedback. With no surprise, the number of students that have placed and advanced in competitions this year has stayed relatively the same compared to years past.
Kiesenhofer said, “Overall we are really proud of how well our students have done in competition despite being in this online learning situation where student motivation is depleted.”
Hybrid learning has opened up some new opportunities for DECA in regards to preparing for the international competition this year. After school, it has been able to house two study sessions a week for the students returning. Being able to present face to face has been very beneficial for students. Previously they had been practicing to a camera and having someone watch it to critique. Despite not having the opportunity to travel to Anaheim where the International Career Development Conference (ICDC) would have been held later this month, many students are still excited and motivated to do well.
DECA has done exceptionally well at persevering through the challenges thrown at it this year. The main difference is that students were no longer presenting in front of judges in-person. Many noticed it was hard to keep a bubbly personality throughout the entire presentation. It had proved much harder to remain that way in front of a camera because there would not be anyone to engage with.
DECA also had a setback with trying to keep students engaged while at home, but through that came a wonderful social media team that was in charge of keeping everyone up to date and involved. The team is something that they said they hope to keep even with the return to in-person school.
The club has had many ups and downs this year but just like always, it has persevered.