DECA Goes Behind the Scenes at the 2016 DNC

By Nikos Papanikolau, Class of 2017

The #DECAATTProject has been a truly inspiring experience for not only myself, but also my fellow DECA members. The various engaging activities and informational trips throughout the past few years have been absolutely stellar; but of course, leave it to AT&T to take an amazing experience to the next level with the 2016 Democratic National Convention Watch Party.

The event was well organized with fascinating and empowering speakers that I would never have expected to have the chance to interact with otherwise. Councilman Allan Domb, for example, was able to connect to us on a personal level as Philadelphians and inspired us to be ambitious. We also heard from Mr. Joe Grace, Vice President of State & Local Advocacy for the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, who was a very effective communicator putting forth thought-provoking questions and offering unbiased views that certainly opened our eyes on the presidential election. The guest speakers were spectacular and never lost our undivided attention with their eloquent speeches.

The #DECAATTProject mentors have an exceptional ability to connect with us DECA members. During the DNC speeches, we were given bingo cards with various patriotic pictures and keywords on them, and if we were able to fill out our entire board, we’d win a prize! I thought this was an ingenious way to keep us focused on the content of the speeches while also making it fun and engaging. I never would have thought a national political convention could be so intriguing and entertaining simultaneously!

Overall, the DNC and RNC Watch Parties that AT&T held for us were very enlightening events that definitely made the election experience much more important to me and my peers. Unfortunately, many of us will not be old enough to vote in November, however, the experience encouraged us to pay more attention to not only national politics, but also to get involved in local politics.

Just a few months ago, we held a voter registration drive at our school (George Washington High School in Philadelphia) and we were able to register almost 50 people!

I must thank AT&T for this surge in awareness and eagerness to take part in our democratic system. Thank you AT&T for all that you do for DECA, as well as for us students. We are very grateful for your generosity and support.

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