January 09, 2023

AHA’s DECA Competitors Earn Top Awards, Advance to State Event

 It’s been just five years since Holy Angels entered its first Distributive Education Clubs of America event, and the Academy’s team of business-minded teens has been on the rise ever since. AHA emerged from the January 3 regional event in East Rutherford with a first place award for DECA Co-president Shivani Sahu of Paramus, a second place award for Elise Tao of Upper Saddle River, and a total of 17 Angels who qualified for state competition.


AHA’s state qualifiers include Shivani Sahu, DECA VP Sharanya Agarwal, Elise Tao, Sophie Cossio, Lily Cossio, Isabella McMahon, Kyra Sapontzis, Isabella Zahirudin, Natalie Yoo, Elena Fiorentinos, Sienna Morreale, Sophia Lee, Tristan Fowler, Lianna Gourmos, Evelyna Pavlatos, Lauren Tomasella, and Amanda Tomasella.



“We are very happy about all of our state qualifiers,” said AHA DECA Adviser and team founder Krystal Reilly.


Sahu, an AHA senior, competed in automotive services marketing.


“I was really excited to be back competing for the DECA season,” Sahu shared. “I always enjoy meeting new people and being able to practice case studies to mimic real world dilemmas in the business field. I’m also very proud of everyone who competed (January 3) — especially the first-time competitors! I can’t wait for States with my fellow Angel DECA members!”


Tao (AHA ’24) earned her second place finish in the entrepreneurship series. This event is an excellent fit for Tao, who is editor-in-chief of Synthesis Publications, the creative outlet she established with classmates from a writing course at Columbia University.


“I was pleasantly surprised by the results for DECA districts,” Tao shared. “As an avid lover of business administration and as an entrepreneur myself, it was quite rewarding to find out that I placed in such a competitive event. From the multiple choice exam to the role-plays, I put my best foot forward and truly allowed my confidence to shine in the process. DECA States is such an incredible opportunity and I cannot wait for February.”


At the state level, Tao will be competing in both the entrepreneurship series and business growth plan.


Team members include Co-president Jaclyn Larraz, Romina Bega, Raffaela Manoy, Anna Governale, Amelia Shen, Delaney Banek, Julia Covino, Caelyn Lindsay, Tessa Shaw, Trinity Savage, Fiona Sykes, Mia Tinoco, Victoria Velasco, Ashley Miskovitz, Ava Tripodi, Rachelle Wu, Karis Cho, Kate Hynes, Sofia Cardoso, Daniela Panetta, Chae Hyun Lee, Dylan Cannata, Francesca Casagrande, Evangeline Cho, Amalia Ferolie, Alexandra Darmanin, Alexa Ferrara, Alexandra Fontana, Gabrielle Fontana, Jacqueline Garcia, Valentina Gonzalez-Pichardo, Sophia Rigoli, Rafi Zorea, Alexandra Manning, Katherine Lindquist, Priscilla Lithgow, Reese Orlofsky, Teri Koustas, Danielle Dobres, Ella Oaten, Reilly Guy, Annabelle Hur, Emily Neumann, Sophia Karamanoukian, Alexis Jacob, Katherine McLoughlin, Katie Fragola, Shannon Oliver, Olivia Costa, Alexa Diaz, Isabella Fernandez, Valerie Rey, Olivia Leys, Claudia Parlamis, Caitlin Deiser, Maggie Yu, Inha Jun, Angelina Kim, Kaitlyn Zheng, Madeline Lee, Chloe Kwon, Milena Hiza, Reyna Cunningham, Stella Yun, Zabela Guilamo, Annika Castillo, Breanna Hetzer,  and Nicole Yakubov.


In April 2022, AHA earned its first invitation to the International Career Development Conference in Atlanta. At that event: 


  • Shivani Sahu received the Glass Trophy for her third place overall finish in the automotive services marketing series. She also earned a Red, White, and Blue Medallion for placing in the Top 10. Sahu advanced to the final round after earning a Blue Ribbon Medallion for her top two win in her group event.
  • Jaclyn Larraz of Blauvelt, New York, finished ninth overall in the virtual business challenge – fashion. She earned a Red, White, and Blue Medallion for her Top 10 finish.
  • Sharanya Agarwal of West New York received a Silver Ribbon Medallion for earning the top score in her group’s presentation on principles of finance. Agarwal also won a Blue Ribbon Medallion for finishing in the top two in her group, and advanced to the finals as one of the top 18 competitors.