A new chapter of DECA was formed at Bishop Shanahan High School in September 2013. The Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) is an international business organization that prepares emerging leaders at both high school and collegiate levels in marketing, finance, hospitality and management.

Shanahan is the first high school of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to have a DECA chapter in the state. There are 66 Pennsylvania chapters with 4,000 members and 200,000 members in the United States overall.

Under the direction of business department faculty member Teresa Dellicompagni, the new Shanahan club has seen success in its first year.

Three Shanahan DECA teams, each consisting of four members, attended Penn State University’s Smeal College of Business & DECA Entrepreneurship Conference last November. The intensive weekend competition called on 18 teams, representing eight different schools, to develop a five-year business plan surrounding a product or service they could market, and then make a presentation before a panel of judges.

The newly formed Shanahan teams were hoping to use this competition to learn how a DECA competition worked. But the business team of senior Brad Capuzzi and juniors Connor Davis, Anthony Fastuca and Connor Greenwood claimed first place overall after presenting their plan on how to market “Sauce Up,” a condiment holder that they envisioned.

The Shanahan DECA team competed against 650 area high school students in the District IX Career Development Conference held Dec. 17 in Valley Forge. This was Shanahan’s first district level competition and the school’s chapter of just 38 students was competing against chapters that had 35 years’ experience and were over 200 students strong.

Twenty-two of the Shanahan competitors were called to stage and told they had qualified for the state competition, which will be held in Hershey, Pa., Feb. 26-28.

In addition to their competitive events, the DECA chapter is active in the community. Members participated in the Shanahan Sprint, helping to raise money for the school’s endowment fund. In January they held a bowling fundraiser at the Downingtown Bowling Palace to raise money for the B+ foundation, which helps children with cancer.