Aakash Kakkar_AZDECA

Category : Awards

Pinnacle DECA Students Advance to International Competition

Tuesday , March 03 , 2020

Pinnacle DECA students at the State Conference

After an impressive showing at the District 6 DECA Conference in January, Pinnacle High School DECA students continued to collect medals at the Arizona DECA Conference held in late February at the Arizona Grand Hotel. 

The Arizona DECA Conference is a three-day grueling competition, which begins with a 100 question comprehensive exam. As one of the largest chapters in the state, Pinnacle brought 77 students to the conference and received an impressive 15 test medals, 19 role-play medals, 42 finalist medals, and earned first place in 11 different categories. Pinnacle High School had 41 students qualify for the International Career Development Conference (ICDC) that will be held in Nashville April 29-May 2.

To prepare for the ICDC, students will amend their projects and will move back into the practice phase to perfect their presentation skills. This includes practicing their presentations to their peers, parents, and members of the business community that are guests to the classroom.  They will participate in “mock competitions” after school to polish their presentations and role-plays. The students will use the state scores to review and edit the written submissions and presentation boards, as well as review the feedback provided by the judges.  

DECA Teacher Cheryl Shea will advise and mentor her students before heading to Nashville for the international conference. She explains, “Students should enjoy the experience and make connections! But also, treat it like a business conference. Know that you are representing not only yourself but Pinnacle, PVSchools, and the state of Arizona. International can be overwhelming with more than 20,000 students from all over the world attending the competition. Relax and enjoy the experience.”

Pinnacle High School Results from the Arizona DECA Conference

ICDC Qualifiers: 

Written: 14 out of 15 submitted written papers qualified and each student wrote their paper alone. 

First Place

  • Maria Wagner – International Business Plan (Aquabyte)
  • Samantha Ferraro – Integrated Marketing Campaign-Product (Beyond Meat)
  • Espie Juntunen – Entrepreneurship Startup Plan (So Fashion Collection)
  • Luis Monrroy-Sanchez – Hospitality and Tourism Operations 20-page Research Plan (Gila River Resorts)    

Second Place

  • Maria DeVictor – Entrepreneurship Franchise Plan (Pilates Studios)
  • Julia Chiavaroli – Integrated marketing Campaign-Event (BeautyCon)
  • Pavan Sathengeri – Entrepreneurship Innovation Plan (Aureus)
  •  Aakash Kakkar – Integrated Marketing Campaign-Product (PUMA)
  • Nikhil Modi – Sports and Entertainment Operations 20 page Research Plan (PHX SUNS)
  • Jacob Ziff – Buying and Merchandising 20-page Research Plan (Sandor Real Estate)

Third Place

  • Akshat Rathi – Buying and Merchandising 20-page Research Plan (Boeing)
  •  Lauren Wolfe – Entrepreneurship Startup Plan (New Light Non-Profit)
  • Mackenzie Middleton – Integrated Marketing Campaign-Service (Bottega Louie Restaurants)

Fourth Place

  •  Carson Wisler – Financial 20 page Research Plan (Bank of America)

Note* Jack Corben wrote a fabulous 20-page business plan for an app for a mental health program for teenagers but missed placing due to a technicality!

Case-Study Roleplay:

First Place

  • Maria Wagner – Restaurant and Food Service Management 
  • Akshat Rathi – Entrepreneurship 
  • Taylor Ray – Food Marketing Series
  •  Ryan Davitt  and Sultan Stipho – Travel and Tourism Team Decision Making
  • Brynn Kramer – Hotel and Lodging Management
  • Abhi Desai – Business Service Marketing
  • Alok Shah – Principles of Finance

Second Place

  • Aiden O’Connor – Automotive Service Marketing
  • Andrew Holland and Matthew Holland – Business Law and Ethics Team Decision Making 
  • Marcus Miller and Justin Doyle – Hospitality Team Decision Making
  • Elena Mao – Principles of Business Management
  • Dianna Lancaster – Sports Entertainment Marketing

Third Place

  • Maria DeVictor – Retail Merchandising Services
  • John Rosenfeld – Restaurant Food Service Management
  • Espie Juntunen – Apparel and Accessories Marketing
  • Adhiti Baghel – Business Service Marketing
  • Noah Ziff – Principles of Finance

Fourth Place

  • Lenna Lentz – Human Resources Management
  • Alex Boggs – Principles of Finance
  • Kameron Cochrane – Retail Merchandising Services
  • Justin Allen – Principles of Marketing

Fifth Place

  • Mia Masters  and Haley Marks – Hospitality Team Decision Making
  • Eve Capin – Food Marketing Services
  • Asrita Sathengeri – Principles of Finance

Student-Based Enterprise Competition: Gold Certified Student Store with Suhani Rathi and Bella Thompson.

Finalists who didn’t qualify for ICDC:

  • Kylie Wetnight – Apparel and Accessories Marketing
  • Hank Roberts – Sports and Entertainment Marketing
  • Camden Katz and Maxwell Sattar – Marketing Team Decision Making
  • Kylie Asheim and Anuli Okafor – Sports and Entertainment Team Decision Making
  • Preston Anzivino – Principles of Marketing
  • Faith Lopez – Principles of Business Management
  • Grace Saigh – Principles of Business Management

Test Medalist (Top 10 percent in Arizona in their respective categories)

  • Akshat Rathi
  • Ryan Davitt
  • Maria DeVictor
  • Maria Wagner
  • Taylor Ray
  • Samantha Ferraro
  • Abhi Desai
  • Brynn Kramer
  • Andrew Holland
  • Matthew Holland
  • Noah Ziff
  • Adhiti Baghel
  • Emerson Smith
  • Elena Mao
  • Justin Allen

Roleplay Case Study Medalist 

  • Maria Wagner
  • Taylor Ray
  • Akshat Rathi
  • Aiden O’Connor
  • Ryan Davitt
  • Sultan Stipho
  • Espie Juntunen
  • Lenna Lentz
  • Brynn Kramer
  • Eve Capin
  • Kameron Cochrane
  • Hank Roberts
  • Adhiti Baghel
  • Noah Ziff
  • Preston Anzivino
  • Elena Mao
  • Alok Shah
  • Faith Lopez
  • Grace Saigh

Shea explains, “Thirteen years ago there was no coherent sequence of courses focusing on business at Pinnacle High School. Now, we offer a path to grow students’ business acumen with a business foundation class, marketing principles, entrepreneurship, and personal finance.   Starting with two students on a single team, I have grown the program exponentially to more than 350 students making it to international competition. Pinnacle is routinely the largest school and the biggest winner at the State competition. Mentoring these students and watching them grow is the highlight of my academic career.”  

Even Shea’s former Pinnacle DECA students pay it forward. Alumni routinely return to the classroom as judges, speakers, and editors. “Their commitment to Pinnacle remains strong well after college graduation because they believe in the importance of this program and the legacy they are a part of,” added Shea.

In the past 13 years, Shea has had eight students elected to the State DECA Office. DECA offers exposure and opportunity to develop their leadership skills from the chapter level to the state level and beyond. Pinnacle High School has had four state presidents and one international vice president. This year, Aakash Kakkar, a junior, will proudly represent Pinnacle as part of the 2020-2021 Arizona DECA State Officer Team. 

DECA is a co-curricular organization where students demonstrate their classroom knowledge and skills in a competitive environment. 

PVSchools wishes the Pinnacle DECA students the best of luck during the ICDC.