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Students Shine Again

Posted on by Alex Bosio

DECA success for Hamden High leaves one to consider: What’s next for the town’s brightest young business minds?

Local students attending Hamden High School left a serious impact on this year’s DECA International Competition. DECA, or the Distributive Education Clubs of America, is a program run in schools across America and around of the world. Students are exposed to the competitive world of business strategy through simulation and debate events, serving as a test of their ability to not only think critically, but articulate their ideas in a public speaking format.

While attending the 2019 DECA International Competition in Orlando, Florida, Hamden High students impressed in their respective events. Out of 22,000 total students participating, Charlie Fok led the way for Hamden, finishing in the International Top 10 in the Sports and Entertainment Operations Research Event. In 2018 Hamden DECA took home International Second and International Third from Atlanta.

The great success had by the students is a testament to their hard work and dedication, as well as all of the incredible support given by teachers, families, and the Hamden community. Since 1999, 432 students have won awards in state competition, 32 students have been International Finalist (top 16), and 20 students have finished in the International Top 10. Hamden DECA has also had two International First Places, one Int. Second Place, and two Int. Third Places.

Bryan Anderson, marketing teacher and DECA Advisor at Hamden High School, stresses the importance of setting high expectations for his students. “Having high expectations is what creates a lasting culture of excellence, and most students will do what it takes to achieve success and to surpass expectations,” he says. This is true for both schools and small and large businesses alike. The success of Hamden’s high school-aged students in competitions like DECA is an indication of the potential which needs to be empowered. Now it is up to the community and its services to foster that potential. “If you want to grow businesses in Connecticut, these are the kids who are going to do it,” says Anderson.

The Hamden Department of Economic and Neighborhood Development has put extensive work into projects to catalyze local business and job creation. Ventures include the Business Assistance center, and the continued development of the Borough 496 (Hamden Business Incubator) on Newhall Street.

The Town is also developing an ecosystem to encourage the development of free enterprise and innovative business ventures. For example, Quinnipiac’s People’s United Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is another stimulus, looking to encourage college-aged adults to share ideas and spring start-ups. One of the key aspects of economic development is retention, be it retention of businesses in a town, or workforce within a company or region. Anderson says, “The next critical step (after helping cultivate a business locally) is getting that business to stay in Town.”

With the loss of General Electric and now United Technologies, Connecticut must create a climate that retains and attracts both small and large businesses. This is why supporting young people and their ventures is so important. As Hamden’s future entrepreneurs develop into present-day successes, they will be able to do incredible work that not only drives their own careers, but do so while contributing to the community that they were raised in.

  • For more information about DECA, click here.
  • For more information about the Economic Development Program in Hamden, click here.
  • For more information about the BOROUGH496 (Hamden Business Incubator), click here.