Making It Big With Sarah Karan’s DECA Campaign

Making It Big With Sarah Karans DECA Campaign

While many of us were counting down the days before Spring Break, many teams, clubs, and individuals have been busy planning and preparing for their events outside of school. One student in particular, a member of ACP High School’s very own DECA team, Sarah Karan, ran for the Arizona DECA Executive Team before break and was elected as District-5 Representative (which is our district). DECA-short for Distributive Education Clubs of America- is a non-profit student organization with 175,000 members intended to help and support young and emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management. DECA was founded in 1946 and is in both high schools and colleges. As of now, DECA has 3,200 high school chapters, 200 college chapters, and 5,000 advisors. DECA offers students challenges and competitive events to build, prepare, and utilize their skills for success in the real world. Sarah is a junior, and junior year of high school is incredibly hectic as 11th graders deal with ACT, PSAT, SAT, and a spur of difficult classes. Today, we’ll be interviewing Sarah to peek inside what her DECA campaign was like, her mastery of balancing of her academic, extracurricular, and personal life, and more of who she is as a person beyond her achievements.

Q: When did you join ACP’s DECA club and why did you want to join? Does the same reason apply to why you ran for Arizona State Officer? Has any of your motivations or dreams changed since joining?

A: I joined DECA in sophomore year when I was online on COA, so this is my second year at DECA. I have always had an interest in business and plan to pursue it as a future career choice; however, I’ve always been scared of public speaking and presenting, which is a crucial skill to have when you are involved in the field. Because of this, I decided that I wanted to go outside my comfort zone by applying for a position in an organization that I had a passion for.

Q: What are some life-long skills that DECA has taught you and why do you think those skills are essential for either college or the real world? What is something that you hope to use as a representative for District-5 that you have learned from your time with ACP DECA?

A: As I mentioned earlier, I’ve always had a fear of public speaking, but after this experience, I feel confident giving presentations and speeches in class, something I have always struggled with. Public speaking is crucial in so many different fields, and being able to go up on a stage or in front of a classroom prepares me more for aspects of the real world. One of my main goals as an officer is to increase communication between chapters. From my experience, I feel like unless you have direct contact with someone who is an officer in DECA, you usually won’t be able to communicate with officers. My hope is that me and my team can find ways to remedy this issue.

Q: What are some expectations or ideas that you have for next year that you would like to implement as a senior in the school year of 2022-2023?

A: I have a few ideas regarding how we can increase communication, not only between chapters, but among Arizona DECA as a whole. One of my ideas, if the DECA team allows it, is to have a Q&A page where DECA members can ask questions from their Arizona officer teams. That way, we as officers can be more connected to the chapters we serve. This is, of course, just an idea that I have in mind, so I’m hoping that the other officers and I can work out the rest of the details if it’s something that could work for us.

Q: What are some qualifications needed to run for the Arizona DECA Executive Team? Did you need to give a speech or present anything? If so, what did you talk about or present?

A: You need to be an active member of DECA by being concurrently enrolled in your school’s DECA chapter, or in the case of our school, you need to be enrolled in a marketing class. You also need to be prepared to give a speech to the entire DECA body of 1000+ people, so you should be prepared to give your speech out to a full auditorium. In my speech, I generally discussed how I felt I could help DECA, while also reminiscing about the exciting experiences I’ve had in this organization, and how I’m excited to make more memories in the coming year.

Q: What’s the best way to balance your life at school and home? Are there any other clubs or organizations besides DECA that you’ve joined and if so, what are they? How do you think joining those clubs helped you grow and build your own identity as a person?

A: As of now, most of my duties as a state officer will be occurring over the course of my senior year. Because of this, I’ve ultimately decided to take on a lighter course load for my senior year, as I will be occasionally missing class to go on school trips to help others learn more about DECA. But in my junior year, I’ve found that one of the most helpful pieces of advice I can give to help manage your time is to make a schedule when you come home. Not only should you schedule time to work on your schoolwork and study, you should also be able to give yourself time to relax. As for other organizations, I’m currently the treasurer of ACP’s UNICEF chapter, and also a member of the International Knights Festival committee, She’s The First, and Library Club. As for out of school, I’m a co-founder in a volunteer organization called the Gift of Giving, which is an organization that donates hand made cards to dementia and memory care centers to promote intergenerational interaction. I feel like these organizations have made a strong, positive impact on making me who I am, as they taught me the importance of the morals I hold. 

As we get older, sometimes we can feel pressured to continuously be “on the grind” and work to the point of burnout. While it is valued to achieve great things, it’s equally, if not more, important to take care of yourself. Your body does a lot for you every single day. So while you’re striving for the impossible and being extraordinary, make sure take the time to give yourself breaks and the optimum self-care you deserve. Take care, Knights.