Next Stop for SBRHS DECA: Atlanta


Colby Yokell, Co-Editor

On March 10 at the state competition, 16 students involved in Somerset Berkley Regional High School’s business competition club, DECA, found out that they had qualified for the international competition in Atlanta, Georgia.

“They’re very dedicated, they’re intelligent kids, they’re into business and they get it. They really do what they need to do to advance,” Christine Ayer, the advisor for SBRHS DECA, said.

In order to qualify for the international competition, students had to place in the top five in their respective category during the state competition. This year, the group of students that qualified for Atlanta was the largest ever from SBRHS.

The students that qualified for the competition in Georgia are seniors Kara Kanuse, Sarah Wilson, Michael Ferreira, Hunter Dusio, Abigail Cadorette, Jillian Levesque, Colin Ryder, Connor Ryder, Eddy Raad, Kyle Cardoso, and Chase Franco, juniors Mike Gagliardi, Julianna Richards, and Cara Francisco, and sophomores Maisy Magoni and Grace Sedell.

Maisy Magoni celebrates her third place victory.

“I was truly shocked because this is only my first year in DECA,” Magoni said. “I was just happy to be there after I placed first in the district competition, which was also an honor as a sophomore. I didn’t expect to place at all.”

In addition to the 16 students that qualified at the state competition, an additional three students will also go to the international competition in a leadership spot. These students include senior Syerra-Marie Carmone and juniors Vanessa Rapoza and Guy Parenteau.

The DECA state competition took place from March 8 to March 10 in Boston, and 70 SBRHS students competed in all. At the competition, there were 80 schools competing from all over Massachusetts.

During the competition, the competitors had to take a written test and perform two role plays in which they solved a business problem related to their category.

Kanuse and her DECA partner Wilson, the co-presidents of the club at the high school, placed fourth in the Marketing Management Team Decision Making category. This is the third year that both students have participated in the club and the second year that they have made it to the international competition.

The students pictured above made it to the international competition in Anaheim, California last year. This year, they will also be attending the international competition in Atlanta, Georgia. From left to right: (top) Hunter Dusio, Mike Gagliardi, Michael Ferreira, (bottom) Sarah Wilson, Jillian Levesque, Abigail Cadorette, and Kara Kanuse.

However, this year was a little different for Kanuse and Wilson, as it was “a lot more stressful since we are the presidents,” Kanuse said. “Along with what we usually do, we had to not only make sure all of our stuff was together but that everyone else’s was too.”

This year was the first that Richards and her DECA partner Francisco competed. They placed third in the Travel and Tourism Team Decision Making category.

“We were pretty intimidated. It was our first year competing in DECA and we knew that we were competing against the top six from each district,” Richards said. “There were so many teams competing against us. We felt like we did not have much of a chance, but we still gave it our all and fortunately our hard work paid off.”

This was also the first year that Magoni competed in DECA. She competed as an individual and came in third place in the Principles of Business Management and Administration category.

“It was amazing!” Magoni said. “There were about 2,700 competitors so it was slightly intimidating, but I wasn’t scared. It was an amazing experience. It made me even more excited for Atlanta!”

Richards and Magoni spent time with the Ghilarducci’s, a couple from Berkley who are DECA judges that dedicate their free time to helping students prepare for the competition.

“They have us do practice role plays for them and they tell us how to improve. They also give us tips and tricks to impress the judges. They are miracle workers!” Magoni said.

Mike Gagliardi finds out that he made it to the international competition in Atlanta, Georgia.

During the competition, Kanuse and Wilson completed two role plays: one about how to modernize “Dairy Princess” and the second about a massage company and how to promote it during the holiday season.

In contrast, Richards and Francisco got a role play about an ad campaign to promote the ultimate vacation for kids and another in which they had to create a plan to recruit young people to become airline pilots since they were seeing a large decrease in employment.

Kanuse said that her and Wilson were successful in the competition because “we just work well together. It’s weird because I’ll do something and then one minute later she’ll tell me to do it, and it will already be done. We think the same way so we are able to plan fast and efficiently because we know what the other is going to do.”

As an individual, Magoni attributes her success in the role plays to her ability to make her second one her own. In order to be successful, students have to become the role they are asked to assume. Magoni even made a business card and a slogan that made her role play more realistic and personal.

When Magoni learned that she had qualified for the competition in Georgia, she had never been so shocked in her entire life.

“My first thought was probably ‘How did I pull this off?’ As soon as I saw everybody from our school, I cried and was yelling and jumping up and down. It was so rewarding,” Magoni said. “The support from everybody was amazing too! It was really humbling.”

Richards said that finding out that her and Francisco made it to Atlanta during their first year competing in DECA was “so crazy. I wasn’t expecting it but I knew we worked hard and deserved it. It was unreal.”

Cara Francisco and Julianna Richards celebrate their third place victory.

The students will be leaving for the international competition on April 21 and will be coming back on April 25.

“Now they’re entering the end of the competition. They’re going to compete against kids from all over the world, not just in Massachusetts, so they need to prepare even more for what they’re going to face,” Ayer said. “The competition is going to be a lot more difficult and they need to be very focused. But I also want them to enjoy themselves and have fun because they deserve it.”

Magoni said that she hopes to place in the top 50 when she competes in Atlanta, though she realizes that she is now competing against the best in the world.

Richards hopes to “meet new people, have new business experiences, and compete to the best of our ability.”

The international competition in Atlanta is the last competition Kanuse will compete in for SBRHS DECA. The state competition was a very bittersweet moment for her.

“DECA has shown me that if you are truly passionate about something and put in the work, you will succeed,” Kanuse said. “I am so lucky to have this amazing program and to be able to share these amazing memories with some of my best friends.”


The students pictured above are those that qualified for the international competition in Atlanta, Georgia. From left to right: (top) Michael Ferreira, Colin Ryder, Connor Ryder, Mike Gagliardi, Eddy Raad, Kyle Cardoso, Hunter Dusio, (bottom) Maisy Magoni, Grace Sedell, Sarah Wilson, Kara Kanuse, Chase Franco, Cara Francisco, Julianna Richards, Jillian Levesque, and Abigail Cadorette.