A record day for NHS DECA

Members of Naugatuck High School’s DECA chapter pose for a photo following the state DECA competition March 13 at the Aqua Turf in Plantsville. Twenty out of the chapter’s 32 students who took part in the competition placed in the top 10 of their competitions. –CONTRIBUTED

NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck High School DECA chapter will have a record number of students at the international DECA competition next month.

Twenty out of the chapter’s 32 students who took part in the state DECA competition on March 13 placed in the top 10, DECA adviser and NHS marketing teacher Tim Reilly said. That broke the school’s record of 19 students set last year, he said.

Of those 20, 18 students placed in the top three of their categories and will have the chance to compete at the DECA International Career Development Conference April 26 in Anaheim, Calif.

“These students have worked for months on extremely challenging projects that included 30-page papers and related presentations. Their efforts culminated in extremely competitive presentations, against approximately 1,000 Connecticut high school students. I continue to say that I believe that Naugatuck children can do absolutely anything they set their minds to, and [March 13] they provided evidence of just that,” Reilly said.

Reilly added that students Jacob Smith and Ben Wierzbicki received a perfect score on their project on financial literacy promotion.

“It is rare and difficult to attain,” said Reilly of the perfect score.

Naugatuck High DECA President Kyla Magalhaes, a senior, was thrilled so many of her classmates did so well at the state competition.

“Words cannot describe how happy and proud I am to have worked with these amazing students. Many hours of hard work and perseverance had been put in prior to the competition and seeing everyone have the success that they did just was amazing,” Magalhaes said.

“I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of Naugatuck High School DECA. Our success at states proceeded further that it is truly one of the most hard-working student organizations in the town and state,” Magalhaes added. “The whole process was overall a rewarding challenge for all who competed.”

Magalhaes hopes her classmates will continue that success at the international conference.

“Now we are preparing for the international competition in Anaheim, Calif., where hopefully we can place multiple teams on the stage,” Magalhaes said.

Last year, NHS students PJ Morrissey and Kelly Murphy, who are now seniors, placed third overall in their category at the international competition. Reilly hopes the chapter has another international winner come April.

However, more important than winning, Reilly hopes the students will “have the experience of their lifetime, which my prior trips indicate that they will.”

The following Naugatuck High School DECA members placed in the top three of their category at the state DECA competition on March 13: Joe Dempsey, Brian Goggin, and Omari Solomon (first place, creative marketing project); Jacob Smith and Ben Wierzbicki (first place, financial literacy promotion project); Erin Brown and Melinda Ramadani (first place, hospitality and tourism operations research); Alyssa Peterson and Bridget Rosikiewicz (first place, buying and merchandising operations research); Kody Butler and Caitlin Whiteley (second place, entrepreneurship promotion project); PJ Morrissey and Kelly Murphy (second place, sports and entertainment promotion plan); Noel DeFala and Shealynn Kuczenski (second place, finance operations research); Cassidy Baranowski, Lori Dietz, and Emily Tribanas (third place, community service project).