DECA to send 16 to nationals


Photo Courtesy of Christine Bell

Seniors Mira Piucci, Katie Hunt and Hattie Goodwin pose with their awards at the DECA state competition.

Virginia Aabram, Head News Editor

DECA will send 16 students to the national competition in Anaheim, Calif., following a tradition of excellence in the state arena. Naperville Central will be represented in events focused on marketing, hospitality and tourism, business management and administration and finance. Twenty-six students qualified for nationals at the state competition, but due a conflict with prom weekend, many seniors will not be attending.

“In the state, we’re a contender,” said Christine Bell, CTE teacher and sponsor of the Central DECA club. “They know Naperville Central; we’re a powerhouse, and I really give credit to the kids because there’s just one of me. […] We have awesome students here and a great community with great parents and great kids. We set the bar.”

According to DECA’s website, over 18,000 students will attend the conference in Anaheim from April 26-29. Of those, over 10,000 will be competing.

Mahie Gopalka, a more experienced member attending nationals this year, is a junior and a returning champion in HR.  Bell has high hopes for her.

“She should do very well this year,” Bell said. “Mahie performs very well because she goes above and beyond.”

Gopalka is looking forward to competing.

“To be honest, I have no idea how I’ll end up doing,” Gopalka said. “I mean of course I hope to do well, but regardless I’m looking forward to the competition and meeting people from all around the country in my event.”