Junior wins silver medal in DECA competition


Photo Credit: Courtesy of Nick McRae

Junior Nick McRae won a silver medal at at the International Career Development Conference on April 13.

by Sophie Ferreri, Senior Staff Writer

After months of study sessions and practicing, junior Nick McRae, earned a silver medal at the International Career Development Conference on April 13. Months prior, in the fall, as he signed his name to join DECA for the first time, McRae was oblivious to the path of success he had just stepped foot upon.

McRae had been eager to involve himself in a club where he could utilize his talkative and friendly personality.  At that point in time, he had already developed an online graphic design company along with a couple other business endeavors. His passion for business was prominent and qualified DECA to be the perfect club for him. The first step when joining DECA is to choose a subject matter area related to business as an individual or on a team. His involvement with his design company lead him to pursue the subject matter Principles of Business Administration.

“…he’s a success trailblazer!”

— Frank Manziano

“Joining DECA, once I found out that the club existed, it just seemed like a given,” McRae said.

Next the students take an online test in their subject area – and then they go to a role play competition, starting at the “regional level” – which was held at Ramapo College in January. The combination of their role plays, which involved a case study problem, in which they present their ideas in front of a judge and their online test are ranked by subject area. The top 15 or so best overall scores advance to the state competition.  The state competition was held in Atlantic City this year in February – they took about 16 or so students there.  The same process, an online test and roleplay, is then repeated at the state level.

Finally, out of literally thousands who compete at regionals, states and all over the Country, the top winners are invited to go to the national competition.  Then they repeat the online test/role play process one last time to qualify for the top slot in their respective subject areas. McRae was ranked among the top 15 performing students in the country in his subject area, and it appeared he was just one shy of advancing into the final grouping for his category.  He won a silver award for his performance.    

“I know I should have felt very lucky for what I accomplished, and I did, but I just remember being on stage wishing I could have done better on my role play. That would have put me in the running for 1st, 2nd or 3rd,” McRae said.

McRae’s work and success has been praised by Mr. Manziano, who has been involved with DECA since its recent inception in the last three years. Manziano enjoyed working enjoyed working with him, although much of the preparation is self-study and practice with other students. Before the state’s competition, ahead of his final states roleplay, Manziano navigated his way through crowds to leave McRae with one last piece of advice which was to simply be himself.

“He knows the content but perhaps even more importantly, let his common sense and positive emotional intelligence shine in front of the judges,” Manziano said.

McRae considers Manziano as one of his biggest mentors, behind his mother of course. McRae hasn’t had the pleasure of taking a class with Manziano yet but is looking forward to AP Economics with him next year.

“As someone who worked in the industry before becoming a teacher, he brings so much insight and knowledge with him wherever he goes,” McRae said.

The DECA club is in the process of trying to start their first “DECA night,” a dinner to celebrate this past year with an awards ceremony, to introduce new Club Leaders, and also to introduce prospective club members and their parents as to what the club is about. The date has not yet been finalized, but it would be a perfect place to showcase one of DECA’s most treasured members.

“This was the farthest we have advanced since reviving the club, he’s such a success trailblazer!  We are very proud of him along with everybody who participated and the many who succeeded this year at each of the levels of the competitions,” Manziano said.