Students from two Jefferson Township High School clubs attended the New Jersey DECA/FBLA state conference in late February and early March due to their successful performance at the regional conference.

DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) and FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) both involve business ideas and structures – and just about all careers include some aspect of business. No matter the profession, whether broadcast journalism or marketing management, you are dealing with business strategies and aspects every day.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Joyce Hulbert, co-advisor for DECA/FBLA. Regarding the areas that are commonly studied in DECA, she said, “Of course we encourage what they [the students] could study … we provide reading materials, textbooks …” However, if one of the 50-60 topics does not have educational materials, the advisors will help to provide the students with materials to prepare them as best they can for a competition.

To qualify for the DECA state competition, students must be in the top six in the region in both their written test and role play, which is held at Ramapo College. To qualify for the FBLA state competition, students must be in the top eight of their written test (there is no role play).

In another interview, I also had the pleasure of discussing DECA/FBLA with co-advisor Melissa Kwiecinski. Regarding the preparedness levels for state qualifiers, she said, “Students should have a basic comprehension of business … lots of content skills. Not all is about content skills, but presentation and communication … and a confidence level in what you are saying.” Kwiecinski also discussed how problem-solving skills are vital in succeeding in the competitions.

The DECA/FBLA clubs require a lot of time, effort, and dedication. To qualify for national championships, candidates must complete a 30-page financial plan paper and a 20-minute presentation on the paper. Both are graded.

Jefferson was awarded third place this year. One of the township’s DECA national qualifiers, Abby Buccieri, wanted to give some advice to prospective and current DECA and FBLA members. “A lot of preparation and practicing … all did pay off in the end,” she said.

No matter what profession students decide to enter, being a part of DECA or FBLA will certainly prepare them for further understanding business in the workplace. Business ideas are all around the work environment, from financial firms to hospitals. If someone is interested in earning a degree in business in the future or just wants a jump start on how to navigate the business world in a non-business field, becoming a member of DECA or FBLA is for them.

This story was written by Jefferson Township High School senior Josh Dyl.

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