Thomas Jefferson

High School | Home of the Spartans

The DECA Experience

Posted 12/08/2023 by Nate Bolinske

The display located outside of Mr. Nicolo’s room highlights DECA rewards and officers. photo by Farah Djama

TJ’s long-reigning DECA domination has been a big part of school culture for many years. 

Thomas Jefferson High School’s CCT program offers a range of fun and exciting classes that teach life skills and provide students with a pathway to explore their future careers. One such pathway includes the DECA class, which is an incredible opportunity for students to look into a career in business and marketing. After taking the class, students are given a choice whether or not to compete against other schools in both the district and the state. Most students do choose to compete, and in doing so, they represent TJ’s impressive program. Every year, TJ DECA represents their prestigious reputation, and students go as far as the National competition. 

At TJ, Matthew Nicolo, an experienced Business Teacher at TJ who takes charge of the DECA program. Nicolo helps organize district DECA competition, and plays a  vital role in the state DECA competition. . He has immense experience at not only TJ but also within the overall DECA program. He has been a DECA advisor for over 20 years and has exceptional knowledge to share with students that decide to take his class. Nicolo is well respected around TJ and is a very excellent teacher. He has been at TJ for over a decade, and he not only teaches business but also gives out life lessons and guidance to all DECA students. “Nicolo’s class and the DECA competition is one of the best things to participate in at TJ,” said junior Jackson Nathan, whose feelings around DECA mirror those of his classmates who are also in the program. The highlight of DECA is the experience of going to state, which consists of staying at the Broadmoor, watching an incredible show put on by student state representatives during the celebration ceremony, and broadening student knowledge of business and marketing. The Broadmoor’s prestigious reputation is interlinked with DECA – the state competition has been held there for decades. Outside of competition, the class provides interesting learning experiences while simultaneously being an enjoyable class. 

Taking a business class such as DECA in high school can be extremely beneficial for students who are interested in a career in that field. The class is extremely collaborative, and working with peers gives students a sense of the world that exists after high school.  From fun buzzer games to interesting in-class conversations about marketing, DECA has everything it needs to prepare students for the future. Within the class, Nicolo teaches different strategies of marketing, plans for finance, and examples of business models. His personal experience as well as his knowledge around business helps every student who goes into his class learn as much as they can about that potential career, allowing students to develop fundamental skills that will help them succeed in life. For students thinking about a future in business, DECA is a vital class to take and Nicolo is an incredible teacher who can help propel motivated students towards that career. One simple elective class can change the course of a student’s high school career and their professional career.