DECA boasts 19 state finalists, taking 10 winners to international competition (with video)

Sakshi Venkatraman, Executive News Editor

Coppell High School DECA (Association of Marketing Students) members prepare and review their slideshow presentations for upcoming event rounds at their Garland district tournament in January. From Feb. 23-25, DECA members competed in their annual state tournament in San Antonio, a business and marketing based competition where 10 winners advanced to the national competition. Photo by Kelly Wei.

With 48 members working on topics ranging from International Business to Food Marketing, Coppell High School’s 2017 DECA (Association of Marketing Students) chapter has experienced a large growth in numbers.


While the 2016 chapter took 19 district winners to the Texas DECA tournament and two state winners to the International Career Development Conference (ICDC), the number advancing at each level has more than doubled this year.


The 2017 chapter boasted 43 San Antonio state competitors, with 10 winners advancing to the international level of competition.


CHS adviser Richard Chamberlain said this growth in numbers is due to passionate chapter members spreading the word to their friends.


“A lot of [the growth] has been from the students,” Chamberlain said. “Students found out they could go on some fun trips, and they really recruited each other. All but three of the students have never had a business class. A lot of them are not allowed to take business classes from their parents because they’re focused on science and math classes and AP classes.”


For junior Jihae Choi, joining the club early sophomore year evolved into a way for her to explore her interest in business.


“It started off as just a club to join because I didn’t have much,” Choi said. “Now, it’s something I really want to do and it’s a really large part of my extracurriculars. I get to work with my best friend and go to competitive events, which is fun.”


During the state competition, held from Feb. 23-25 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Choi won in the Advertising Campaign category.


In the weeks leading to the Garland District 11 tournament in January and the state competition in late February, Choi and partner, CHS junior Sri Palavala, worked with a University of Texas at Dallas professor to advertise his nonprofit organization, which teaches math to young kids.


“You walk in and there’s like 15,000 or 16,000 people there,” Choi said. “The opening and closing ceremonies are so big. [When we found out we won], me and Sri were on the big screen. I was like ‘is this even happening’. It took a while to settle in.”


The 2017 chapter is looking forward to an exciting experience at the international level of competition in Anaheim, Calif. on April 26-29. Until then, Chamberlain will help advancing members refine and edit their projects.


“I give them reviews, I give them glossaries, I give them things to work on,” Chamberlain said. “We have meetings where we talk about strategies and tactics. But for the most part, they do it all outside of class on their own.

From Feb. 23-25, DECA members competed in their annual state tournament in San Antonio. From the business and marketing based competition, 10 winners from Coppell High School advanced to the national level of competition, which will be held in Anaheim, Calif. Not pictured is Food Marketing winner Sarah Bayanmunkh. Photo courtesy Richard Chamberlain.


“I’m looking forward to [ICDC] being motivating for the students that are not seniors to continue to earn the right to go next year. It also gives us the opportunity for those ten students to get on stage again and possibly even win. That would be a huge deal for Coppell DECA, the city and the community.”


The 10 San Antonio state tournament winners who will be advancing to nationals are as follows:


Jihae Choi, junior – Advertising Campaign team

Sri Palavala, junior – Advertising Campaign team


Isha Kondapalli, junior – International Business plan team

Shruti Vellaturi, junior – International Business plan team


Varenya Shrikant, sophomore – Hospitality Services Team Decision Making Team

Fawaz Syed, sophomore – Hospitality Services Team Decision Making Team


Anita Kalahasti, junior – Buying and Merchandising Team Decision Making team

Lekhitha Ammaresh, junior – Buying and Merchandising Team Decision Making team


Sarah Bayanmunkh, freshman – Food Marketing Series


Sehrish Rupani, senior – Business Services Marketing


Nine DECA members who were finalists at the state level were also recognized in San Antonio, but will not be advancing to ICDC:


Sophomores Almira Rajwani, Sahana Ramasamy, Shreya Patel – Public Relations Project team


Junior Maurya Alturi – Business Finance


Juniors Megh Pandhi and Ken Nomura – Business Services Operations Research Team


Juniors Akarsh Velagapudi, Harshith Vanam and sophomore Shripal Gunna – Creative Marketing Project team