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  • Writer's pictureEast Spotlight Newspaper

DECA at East High School

East High School's very own DECA team is state-bound! DECA is a class that connects students to a variety of business-type projects. DECA stands for Distributive Education Clubs of America and is part of the business curriculum at East. State for East DECA is from February 25th to the 27th at the Broadmoor Resort where they will face schools from all over Colorado. DECA inspires kids to follow their dreams of owning a business or being part of the business world.

             The two DECA teachers are Kirsten Kahn and Logan Breen. Ms. Kahn has been teaching DECA at East for two years. Ms. Kahn remains one of the best business teachers here at East due to her enthusiasm and kind personality when working with students. Before Ms. Kahn became a teacher at East, she was a teacher in her 20s for four years then went into the private sector Elearning space and worked with a tech company launching a 20-year career. This led to two successful tech startups and two global media companies. Ms. Khan has two kids who have participated in DECA, Lulu Kahn and Alden Kahn who did entrepreneurship roleplay and financial literacy roleplay. DECA doesn't mean that you have to go into business, it is also helpful for presentations or in-class projects. When asked why she teaches DECA Ms. Kahn responded by saying "I appreciate being able to draw on business experience to make meaningful content and experiences for students. I wished I had this type of learning experience in high school. Something that is unique here at East is that I am able to work with them more than once, which is very unique. Many East students thrive on the competitive aspect of DECA and it's exciting to support their success."

             Before coming to East Mr. Breen graduated from SMU with a marketing degree in 2018 and worked in marketing for one year for Greystar which is a property management company. However, he decided to change careers and started as a sub at East in 2021 and got his masters in curriculum and instruction from DU in the summer of 2022. Mr. Breen has been given multiple nicknames by the students like "Breen Dog" or "Breenster". Mr. Breen has been teaching DECA for two years, he's been considered one of the kindest teachers here at East due to his calm demeanor and being able to connect with students on a personal level. @MrBreentoks is the tiktok account Mr. Breen makes with students in order to further his bond with them, connecting with them in a modern way. Mr. Breen was asked why he continues to do DECA and he responded by saying "I wanted to be a teacher later in life but decided to do it now because of covid and there being a teacher shortage. It's also really fun working with younger people." Both of these teachers have done an excellent job with students and showing their love for business and their students' business projects, sending over 40 out of 109 kids to Nationals last year alone and after getting past both Districts and State. 

            So what does DECA mean to students? Holland Burkett is in 11th Grade and has been in DECA for two years and competes in a startup business plan. He is an exemplary student in DECA and finished 4th in the state his first year and went on to Nationals in Orlando Florida. When asked what DECA has done for him he said, "It has helped me with my leadership, presentation, and problem-solving skills.” When asked what his favorite thing about DECA is, he said “ I enjoy working together with my teammates and being creative with everything we can do with our business." Holland's start-up business plan includes a written document that outlines his financial, marketing, competitive advantage, and product overview. All of these are important pieces of evidence that he has to transform into a presentation that is given to the judges. While Holland carries the stress of such a large project, he has been a great role model for those who are just starting DECA, offering to help with presentation skills and practice sessions. Holland has continued to show over and over why he is one of the best Denver East DECA has to offer. 


      Gabriel Casteneda is a first-year DECA student who just transferred from South, and discussed coming into the program and its challenges for those interested in the class. Gabe commented, "I've never done a project this big before so the sheer amount of writing was a lot of work." Gabe was later asked "What have been some highlights of doing DECA your first year? He responded by saying "Going to districts and study groups with my friends. I'm also excited to go to state and show the results of my hard work." Gabe has done a great job in his written events attending workshops that have been hosted by Ms. Khan. Gabe has also sought help from others who are doing the same event. He hopes to place in the top five at state this year and go on to Nationals.

      DECA at East High School is for everybody and even if you don't want to pursue a career in business you can still learn very important and valuable life skills. You learn about a community of people you can connect with and make new friends with while also picking up skills like how to present or how to talk to a large group of people. So the question remains will you do DECA next year?    

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