March 09, 2021

AHA’s DECA Team Earns Honors in Statewide Competition

Emerging business leaders from the Academy of the Holy Angels earned some impressive honors at the all-virtual 2021 DECA State Championship.


Natalie Yoo of Englewood Cliffs finished in the top three for her role play interview in finance. Katherine Merriam of Tenafly and Brooke Hess of Cedar Grove placed in the top 10 in the retail merchandising category. Reilly Guy of Fair Lawn and Claire Dodds of Cresskill finished second; and Eliza Hoover of Mahwah, Tamara Kim of Demarest, and Emily Nam of Cresskill came in third in the hotel virtual business challenge. Sarah David of Cresskill and Valerie Rey of River Vale placed second in the restaurant virtual business challenge, and Isabela Presti of Hasbrouck Heights finished third in the sports virtual business challenge.

Elise Tao of Upper Saddle River qualified for the state competition after she achieved the Northeast Region’s highest score on the business management and administration exam.

AHA’s state qualifiers also include Alexa Cawood and Kyra Sapontzis of Park Ridge, JaeMin Chu and Sophie Cossio of Tenafly, Kaitlyn Grifonetti of Old Tappan, Olivia Presser of Demarest, Gretchen Radtke of Hoboken, Alexa Watson of Montvale, and Nicole Yakubov of Teaneck.

“These girls had a great season!” said AHA’s DECA Moderator Krystal Hermanns. “Despite the circumstances, they really put in the effort, both in and outside of school, to compete in every area they could. We had more participation overall than we have ever had, and a lot of girls ventured to compete in areas that they normally would have passed up, such as the 10- and 20-page marketing papers.”

DECA is a growing presence at Holy Angels. Hermanns, who initiated the Academy’s program three years ago, reported that the team began with 13 students. Membership increased to 56 the following year. Seventy-one Angels are currently active with DECA.

DECA was organized in 1946 as Distributive Education Clubs of America. Over time, the program has been extended to high school and college students around the world. DECA programs allow participants to develop leadership and business skills through academic conferences and competitions. (Source:

Founded by the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1879, the Academy of the Holy Angels is the oldest private girls’ school in Bergen County. While AHA is steeped in Catholic tradition, this prestigious high school serves young women from a broad spectrum of cultural and religious backgrounds. Over time, thousands of women have passed through AHA’s portals. Many go on to study at some of the nation’s best universities, earning high-ranking positions in medicine, government, law, education, public service, business, arts, and athletics. The Academy’s current leaders continue to further the SSND mission to provide each student with the tools she needs to reach the fullness of her potential—spiritually, intellectually, socially, and physically, by offering a first-rate education in a nurturing environment where equal importance is placed on academic excellence, character development, moral integrity, and service to others.