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BanterBuddies Episode 2: Romance Movies Perfect for Valentines Day
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Meet the Staff
Emma McWhorter
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Easton Romero
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DECA: Inspiring Excellence

Bryson Taylor
Verrado Deca at the CTSO Officer Training. Officers include: President – Abigail Gayles Vice President – Bryson Taylor Secretary – Victoria Valdez Financial Advisor – Daniel Rivas Community Services – Vivian Bauer Social Media/Publication – Taehanie Scott

Welcome to the intriguing realm of Verrado DECA, a club that ignites passion for entrepreneurship, marketing, finance, and leadership among students.

Through its dynamic programs and immersive experiences, Verrado DECA provides a platform for young minds to develop essential skills, unleash their potential, and embark on a remarkable journey toward success in the business world.

DECA is a widely recognized high school organization that prepares students for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality, and ma

Steven Shadley, is a very committed and dedicated leader for Verrado DECA. (Bryson Taylor)


The name DECA originally stood for “Distributive Education Clubs of America,” but the organization has since expanded its focus beyond distributive education to include various business-related fields.

DECA provides students with opportunities to develop important skills such as leadership, teamwork, communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving. By participating in DECA, students can gain valuable experience and knowledge that will benefit them in their future careers.

At Verrado, Marketing teacher Steven Shadley is the head of DECA. Mr. Shadley has been with Verrado High since February of 2023. He came here from Cesar Chavez High School in Laveen, Ahwatukee where he taught CTE Digital Journalism since July 2021.

Mr. Shadley also spent 40 years as a news reporter, newsroom manager, and program director at NPR (National Public Radio) stations across the country before entering the teaching field in 2021, so he is quite experienced in marketing and social work.

DECA is vital for high school students as it equips them with practical business skills, networking opportunities, real-world experience, personal growth, and enhanced college and scholarship prospects.

Mr. Shadley adds, “DECA is important because it teaches young people the value of being a part of a business community where they can learn skills to improve their own lives through free enterprise…[/pullquote]or if they move on to college, It will help them find a focused career path whether it be in the business or corporate world or perhaps it will give them the incentive to start their own company or non-profit. DECA also helps business students network.

In DECA at Verrado, one of the main goals is creating a new sense of opportunity through this school-based business club, creating meaningful friendships, and career-oriented relationships where there is a common lofty goal of achieving success in business opportunities and career exploration.

DECA is important because it teaches young people the value of being a part of a business community where they can learn skills to improve their own lives through free enterprise…

— Mr. Shadley

Abigail Gayles, a student here at Verrado, is currently serving her third year as the president of DECA.

When asked what she likes most about the club, Abigail responded “My favorite thing about Deca is all the different kinds of people I get to meet and the new places I get to go.”

Verrado DECA students also focus on providing moral support to each other and encouraging other team members to reach for the stars in terms of finding personal and shared wealth, not only in terms of money but also finding what it means to be a part of something meaningful.

Mr. Shadley claims, “We want to have shared values and we will strive together to reach our own best self. We discuss trends in the business world and how the global economy impacts us as individuals in the Verrado One Community.”

Another main focus is to help the community by volunteering services with local charities or non-profit groups in hopes of making a more civil society in which everyone is treated as an equal.

The club does everything from picking up trash at public spaces within the community to collecting and distributing toys and food for children and families in need during the holidays. They also promote Verrado values by practicing behaviors that prove the school is upstanding and a respectable student organization that works to better our part of the Valley of the Sun.

Lucky for the club members, although most of what is done tends to be work related, there is also lots of fun experiences to look forward to. Recently, the club has taken two field trips in a row!

The first was the Fall Leadership Conference held on Tuesday, Sept. 19 at Chase Field in central Phoenix, the same location where the Diamondbacks play their home games.

The leadership conference was open to any current or past CTE Marketing students, and they could attend business training seminars and get advice from working professional mentors who can influence young people with aspirations of entering the working world after school is done.

Inside of WestMec’s Glendale campus during the CTSO Officer Training (Bryson Taylor)

It was also a great way for marketing students to network with other students from various high schools across Arizona. There was informal competitions offered for business students an training sessions on student leadership and how to create an effective effort for community outreach.

The big goal was to bring DECA and marketing students together so they could express tangible collected goals for a successful new academic year. There was also a baseball game free to students and staff after the conference featuring the Arizona Diamondbacks VS. San Francisco Giants, and for the students and staff who stuck around after the conference, it was some great sports entertainment.

The next day, on Sept. 20, newly elected DECA officers and CTE Marketing Teachers/DECA advisors took a trip to WestMec’s Glendale campus for CTSO Officer Training. The overall goal was to spend time collaborating and to create an updated DECA club constitution and bylaws for each individual school.

Along with that, they also would spend some quality time creating a new Program of Work, in which everyone brainstormed declared goals for the new school year and decided on fundraising activities and methods to encourage even more qualified students to possibly join the DECA clubs at each participating high school.

There were lots of DECA mentors and local business leaders attending who shared encouraging words to get all students and faculty enthusiastically involved in creating a creative and fun game plan for the next two semesters of high school.

Throughout the rest of the year, Verrado DECA has lots of plans to contribute to the school and community as a whole positively. Some plans include charitable work such as food drives, angel trees, community clean-up days, and lots more! As well as that, there will also be fundraisers in hopes of earning some money for the club. Some examples include a car wash, GoFundMe, and restaurant contributors.

Abigail says, “I think that Deca does a lot for the community, it provides a way for students to get involved and volunteer, as well as helping students be more prepared for the workforce.”

DECA looks forward to helping and supporting the community, and hopes you will join to do the same!

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