From left to right:

Lukas Woerner
Shana Johnson
Akshay Punukollu
Leah Hoffman
Ben Zhao
DECA helps students become
*Academically prepared
*Community Oriented
*Professionally responsible
*Experienced leaders
Meet our Officers
Illinois DECA


Ben Zhao is a senior at Glenbrook North High School. What inspires Ben the most about DECA is its members and their irrepressible energy for the organization. He has seen the powerful effects of finding a community of like-minded, driven individuals and discovering instruments for expression, all achieved through DECA. Whether in sports, retailing, hospitality, or any niche in DECA’s scope of programs, Ben has seen the impact of DECA and how it not only teaches essential skills, but fosters lifelong friendships and passions.

Ben has competed at the international level of DECA since joining freshmen year, picking up a first place and a third place trophy at ICDC in 2015 and 2016, respectively. However, competition has not been the only meaningful aspect of DECA for Ben. He has made friends from all over the world and has been able to communicate his creativities and ideas through his projects and initiatives.

As a leader in his chapter, Ben has pioneered corporate sponsorship fundraising, raising over $10,000 for his chapters since he has been a board member. He contributed in bringing guest speakers like Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz and University of Chicago professor Craig Wortmann to share their expertise. Ben was responsible for his chapter receiving Thrive” status recognition on the international level and iConnect “Gold” status in Illinois DECA.

Beyond DECA, Ben spends his time attempting to learn Olympic gymnastic skills, playing aimlessly on his piano for unusually long amounts of time, and recreationally eating. He is a strong believer of spontaneous applause and cute cats.

Ben is ecstatic about being on the State Action Team and assures all members that this year will be truly memorable.

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Illinois DECA