The annual DECA Scholarship sponsored by the Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association (PFMA) awarded $1,000 to Jessica Zajac, a senior at State College Area High School who has been involved in DECA for the past four years.
Zajac has been accepted to both Penn State and Mississippi State universities and plans to study accounting. She has participated in DECA since her freshman year, holding several officer positions and representing her DECA chapter at state and regional conferences.
“Jessica is an exemplary student, showcasing an impressive high school career,” said Alex Baloga, president and CEO of PFMA. “From her leadership through DECA to community service activities to academic honors and beyond, Jessica shows dedication to her education. We’re pleased to award her the DECA scholarship so she can continue achieving academic success in her college studies.”
DECA, Inc., is a nonprofit organization that prepares emerging leaders and young entrepreneurs from high schools and colleges in marketing, finance, hospitality and management. More than 225,000 members participate across the globe.
Zajac credits her experiences with DECA for allowing her to explore all aspects of the business world. She has served as chapter treasurer, vice president of finance and director of career development. She is now the District 4/5 representative at the state level. During her junior and senior years, she helped plan and implement the DECA Dash, a color run that raised money for charity. This past year, the DECA Dash went virtual, raising $3,500 for Kisses for Kyle. Through her participation in competitions, events, fundraisers, leadership conferences and real-world experiences, she decided to pursue accounting.
“Along with her undeniable talents, Jessica has always been an absolute joy to work with. She is a true team player and always manages to foster a positive attitude while bringing out the best in others,” said Zajac’s DECA advisor, Bridget Ciolkasz, in a recommendation letter.
In addition to her work with DECA, she is a featured twirler and instructor with the Nittany Dreamers Baton and Silks Corps and is State High majorette captain. She is the Interact Community Service Club media secretary and a member of the National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society and Tri-M Music Honor Society. Zajac is earning her Gold Award with the Girls Scouts of the USA and is a Centre County Outstanding Young Woman finalist.
She also works as a cashier and self-checkout assistant at Wegmans, a PFMA sponsor and member.