Chunduru’s voice takes her international


Freshman Yashitha Chunduru displays her DECA glass from the state competition in Houston, Texas. Chunduru participated in the Principles of Business Management and Administration Event. Photo Courtesy Yashitha Chunduru

Anushree De, Staff Writer

Public speaking is a prevalent fear for many. The exception is CHS9 student Yashitha Chunduru. Her easy going comfortability suggests that interviews are nothing new to her. 

Chunduru’s skill as a speaker has been perfected through her initial experience in Youth and Government (YG), which she began in sixth grade. 

“I was like I’ll just try [YG] out,” Chunduru said. “And by the end of sixth grade, I really liked it. So I kept on doing it in seventh and eighth grade. It wasn’t even like I had a passion to go talk, but I wanted to do everything. By sixth grade, the only overnight thing we had done was camping. So, the prospect of going all the way to Austin was really cool.”

That anticipation soon became a reality for Chunduru, who went on to Austin for state as a sixth grader, eventually medaling. Chunduru proceeded to run for state officer as a seventh grader and became the junior lieutenant governor for 2021.

“I saw her debate and introduce her bills and even run for state government,” CHS9 DECA vice president of competition Navya Singh said. “It is cool to see your friend go out and achieve these things.”

It was this love for YG that translated into Chunduru’s decision to join CHS9’s debate team.

“I definitely learned that I like to talk, and public speaking is something I liked,” Chunduru said

As a debater, Chunduru has tried her hand in world schools, team policy and extemporaneous speaking, the latter of which she broke to finals. However, Chunduru and her team policy partner settled on team policy. 

“When we started out, we heard some things about policy,” said CHS9 student  Ashia Agrawal, Chunduru’s team policy partner Ashia Agrawal. “Policy is really extensive, policy requires the most amount of work, things like that. So we thought ‘OK, let’s not start with that one; it seems a little too hard.’”

But, eventually something just clicked.

“Policy became that cross between [Lincoln-Douglas debate] and working together,” Agrawal said.  

Chunduru also joined her CHS9 DECA chapter this year, and shortly after became the president. In order to run, candidates presented speeches. Six of the 12 running candidates were elected by fellow DECA members. 

“I just decided to run,” Chunduru said. “In our first meeting, we had speeches and slideshows prepared, and we all presented. There were 12 people running, so half of them would become officers.”

After the officers were announced, DECA advisers Kim Porter and William Harrington would delegate officer positions through a series of interviews and a survey.

“Just after meeting with her, we thought that Yashitha was an excellent listener, she had confidence, and she just smiled a lot,” Porter said. “We thought that she was a team player. She has a great ability to unite people.”

Yashitha’s passion, in large part, has led to a successful year for the CHS9 DECA chapter. 

“Working with this team has been amazing,” Singh said. “She may be the president. But, when you’re working in this team, it doesn’t feel like that. She doesn’t lord this president title over you. She treats you just like anyone else. She’s here to hear your ideas.”

Along with becoming the president of DECA, Chunduru has seen other notable success, qualifying for DECA’s International Career Development Conference in Atlanta. Chunduru participated in the Principles of Business Management and Administration event.

“For role plays, specifically, a big piece of advice is to do things out of the box,” Chunduru said. “Obviously, everyone can recite definitions and most people can give you examples as well. But doing something that the judge will remember is important.”

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Chunduru is her contagious attitude among all of what she does.

“The thing about Yashitha I really admire is how ridiculously kind she is,” Singh said. “Everyday you see her, she is smiling. And it’s not one of those fake smiles. She is genuinely smiling. There are crinkles in her eyes. Her eyes are sparkling. And she has this positive vibe around her. And you cannot help but be a part of that.”

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