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Meet Mr. Mendoza

Mr. Medoza and student Brandon Gonzales Talk Business

Recently, Honokaa DECA club members competed in the Hawaii DECA State Convention on Oahu. Four dragons made it to the top ten, with three qualifying for DECA’s International Career Development Conference (ICDC.) These dragons, Ed Agustin, Brandon Gonzales, and Soren Lisonbee, placed first, second, and fourth in the Principles of Business Management and Administration category. Additionally, Mackenzie Mizuba placed third in Business Marketing Services.

We interviewed Brandon Gonzales, a DECA competitor, and our Honokaa DECA Chapter Advisor, Mr. Mendoza, in honor of their achievements. This interview explores their experiences with DECA clubs and DECA state competitions.


What made you want to be a business teacher?


Mr. Mendoza: Although I had gotten my bachelor’s degree in Business Economics, I fell in love with teaching. Coming from the Philippines, I wanted to show the students of Honokaa that there are more options after school. I wanted to teach the students that those options were accessible, they only needed the skills to achieve them and I believe gaining business skills is a perfect way to aid in achieving your goals. 


What made you want to join DECA?


Brandon: In a Dragon Post article I heard of the opportunity to get training and work within a professional setting for a club so I decided to join. It was also a plus that Mr. Mendoza was my advisor so I already knew him. 


What is the most rewarding part of being a teacher?


Mr. Mendoza: Being a teacher, one of the most rewarding things to experience is seeing your students achieve. Seeing our competitors succeed touched my heart.


How do you prepare your students for the DECA Competition and their future careers?


Mr Mendoza: I integrate how the DECA competitions work into my curriculum to prepare my students. I do so with constant presentation assignments, pushing students to work with people they don’t know, creating strict deadlines, and making my students comfortable with vague instructions to figure out how to do things on their own. 


How have the skills you have gained from participating in DECA helped you regularly?


Brandon: As a result of training in DECA I started to look at store prices differently. I also have started to notice ADS when they are trying to sell me a product. This has helped me make better decisions in what I buy.


What was going through your head during your DECA competitive events?


Brandon: While preparing for my roleplays I constantly went over business theories. During my roleplays, I consistently used theories like Blue Ocean Strategy, XYZ Theory, Taylorism, and Faylorism.


How did you react when you found out you qualified for internationals?


Brandon: Honestly, I was surprised. I felt like my second presentation was not as good as my first one. I was also extremely tired the day of the competition so I thought I would only have to do two roleplay events, but I qualified for the next round. 


What was the most memorable moment of the DECA State competition?


Mr. Mendoza: Honestly, one of the most memorable moments of the competition was when I saw one of my students staring at their trophy for five minutes, and I started crying because I was so proud of them.


Brandon: One of the most memorable moments of the competition was when I realized I was a finalist. I was very shocked, so I instantly called Dad and told him “I’m going to Disneyland!”


What would the students be surprised to find out about you?


Mr. Mendoza: All my students know me for being very extroverted and loud in school. However, outside of school, I am a very shy person. I think my students would also be surprised to know that I play video games and I used to do classical music, ballet, and theater. 


If you were a specific meal, what would you be?


Mr. Mendoza: My favorite food is Jollibees. If I were a meal, I would be Jollibees. I especially love their chicken with gravy.


Brandon: Chicken nachos – with chicken tacos, you can add so many toppings. Like chicken tacos, I have a lot of hobbies. I’m in choir and Running Start, I also play the guitar and piano. 


What advice would you give to any dragon considering joining DECA but is insecure about their business skills?


Mr. Mendoza: The only way you can overcome your fears is by taking a risk. No one is 100% ready for anything.


Brandon: Skills don’t magically appear. No one starts something at 100%. You can only improve your skills with time and practice.


Anything else you would like to say to the readers?

Mr. Mendoza: I would like everyone to wish the four delegates good luck in representing the state of Hawaii on an international platform at ICDC. 


Brandon: I’m sick of the Chiefs.


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