By Janet Stoica
DECA, formerly Distributive Education Clubs of America, is a non-profit career and technical student organization for colleges and high schools. The organization’s roots go back to 1946. The U.S. Department of Education authorizes DECA programs, which prepare emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in the areas of marketing, finance, hospitality, and management.
Tyler Adolfo, Bartlett High School senior, recently returned from the DECA state conference, winning first place in the business finance category. He is now preparing for the International Career Development Conference that will be held in Orlando, Florida, and is avidly looking for sponsors to finance his trip.
He’s picked himself up by his bootstraps and wants to show any student out there that you can do anything if you try. He likes to live by former President Calvin Coolidge’s quote: “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.”
If anyone at Webster’s Bartlett High School has persisted, it just has to be Tyler Adolfo, Class of 2019. “I don’t want my personal circumstances to have a bearing on my goals,” said Tyler. “I’m trying to inspire a model of persistence. It doesn’t matter where we come from if you make your goals and stick to them. I was a high school dropout but came back to win. My teachers in my advanced placement classes encouraged me and it helped me to overcome my circumstances. I can’t thank them enough.”
Several years ago, Tyler dropped out of high school. He did have quality grades but a personal situation entered his life and he found himself on the outside looking in. Soon after his departure from Bartlett he realized that he did not want to be part of the drop-out group anymore.
He overcame his difficulties, revitalized his outlook, and rejoined his younger classmates in a quest for excellence. Tyler returned to his advanced placement classes, earning the highest grades possible and joined his fellow classmates in their pursuit of DECA distinction.
A group of 19 BHS students prepared for the DECA competition under the tutelage of Ms. Maryann Hoenig, club adviser. “This opportunity gives our students real life experience with any business situation,” said Ms. Hoenig. “They are using their life skills to solve problems and their judges are business managers, financial consultants, and others from all fields of business.
She explained that DECA “has been around for a quite a long time and our chapter here at Bartlett was begun by Ms. Olga Pappas, who had the foresight to establish this important program for the benefit of our students. Every year, Bartlett has fine students who qualify for the district and state finals. It is a pleasure to work with these wonderful students. In 2018, we had two students who qualified for the International finals, but Tyler is the only one this year.”
Ms. Hoenig describes Tyler is a hard worker whose aim is perfection. His District scores propelled him to his final goal of the Internationals. The benefits of being in these competitions, she says, include possible scholarships to some great schools like Babson, Brandeis, Johnson & Wales, and Nichols. “The exposure to the business world and its managers is a perfect opportunity for our students to network and to make contacts.” Personally, she says gratifying to “witness the transformation of our students when we get to the competition.”
Of the 19 BHS students who qualified for DECA competition this year, six advanced to the State finals, and Tyler Adolfo has now advanced to the Internationals. “It’s a great opportunity,” he says. “I signed up for the category of finance and went into the competition with the mindset that even if I didn’t win, at least I’d get a lot of life experience. Mrs. Hoenig is my coach and the adviser, but Mr. Peter Carney, our Art and Music Department Head, will accompany me to the Internationals.”
Tyler’s overall net score of 284 broke last year’s score of 274. Testing evaluation includes 100 multiple choice questions as well as role playing for a judges’ panel. Tyler also received the second highest test score in the state competition with a score of 89 out of 100.
“This will be a great day for Bartlett High School,” said Dr. Peter Cushing, principal of Bartlett High School, “having Tyler Adolfo going to the International DECA competition and also being in the Lions Club speech competition for State Championship. We’re looking forward to seeing his continued success.”