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14 EPHS students advance to DECA State competition after Sectionals

EPHS DECA top ten students
Sam Britten

Elmwood Park High School’s DECA members traveled to Rosemont this past weekend to compete in the West Suburban DECA Sectional Competitive Events. DECA is a national group that aims to help prepare students who are interested in a business career. 

14 students who competed will advance to the State competition after finishing in the Top 10 of their respective categories. At the competition, students are given business scenarios based on the field they chose and have 10 minutes to create a plan around that situation. Judges score their presentations. Additionally, students take tests that get more difficult as they advance beyond Sectionals.

The Top 10 finishers are as follows:

  • Karolina Wojdyla-Principles of Hospitality and Tourism
  • Sarah Pritt-Sports and Entertainment Marketing
  • Rayan Lahlou-Nabil-Retail Merchandising
  • Natalia Ciura-Personal Finance Literacy
  • Justus Escarpita-Business Financial Services
  • Emily Neil and Michelle Sapeta-Sports and Entertainment Team Decision-Making
  • Nicole Taha-Entrepreneurship 
  • Robert Konrath-Apparel and Accessories Marketing
  • Alexa Vateva-Hotel Lodging
  • Eva Mylonas-Automotive Services Marketing
  • Da’Nyla Walker-Marketing Communications
  • Olivia Shipinski-Automotive Services Marketing
  • Liliana Vitacco-Retail Merchandising

“Having 14 out of 41 team members finish in the Top Ten and several more just shy of that is fantastic,” said Karen Bear, EPHS DECA Advisor. “Every one of our students represented Elmwood Park well both in skills and professional behavior.

One of those top finishers, Karolina Wojdyla, was originally going to compete in the Marketing category, but Bear asked if she wanted to switch to Principles of Hospitality and Tourism during the bus ride to the competition. The sophomore decided to make the change, and it worked out as she’ll now be competing at State. 

“I have more time to prepare, which is a really good thing,” Wojdyla said on getting ready to compete at State. 

Another Top 10 finisher, Justus Escarpita, didn’t find out he qualified for State until he and his classmates were waiting for the bus to take them home. He said the ceremony ran late and it was a funny moment as he told his classmates that he finished Top 10 while everyone was playing on their phones. 

“This is my first year doing DECA and Mrs. Bear told me she felt like I could do pretty well,” said Escarpita “So it’s nice to see that payoff.”

Students will now turn their attention to the State competition which will take place in Rosemont from Feb. 29 to March 2. 

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