Over 60 MSD DECA Members Attend the International Career Development Conference in Atlanta
MSD’s DECA chapter competed at the International Career Development Conference in Atlanta from April 23-26. Besides competing or participating in leadership workshops, members visited the Georgia Aquarium and Six Flags Over Georgia. {Photo courtesy of Sharon Cutler}

By Ivy Lam

Marjory Stoneman Douglas’s DECA program, the third-largest chapter globally, competed at the International Career Development Conference (ICDC) in Atlanta From April 22 to April 27.

Sixty-two students attended the event: 59 competed in their categories, and three attended the Emerging Leaders Summit.

“It was great for us to finally be at an actual competition instead of doing it online like we’ve done for the last two years,” said NAF Academy of Finance teacher Lisa Webster. “My favorite part of the trip was seeing kids who haven’t experienced ICDC for the first time. Since there were DECA competitors from all around the world, it was great to see the new friendships formed.”

While over 200 DECA students competed at the state level in Orlando a month prior, only students who placed in the top six in each state within their respective categories advanced to the international level.

Besides the competition scene, select DECA members participated solely in the Emerging Leaders Summit, which focused on “the areas of collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity.”

“Instead of competing, I attended leadership workshops that taught me skills and knowledge I can use to improve our DECA program in the upcoming school year,” said Chief Financial Officer L.J. Russinoff. “Through these workshops, I made connections with people all across the country, and some of them are friends that I still talk to today.”

Moreover, trading pins with other states and countries is a tradition at ICDC. The unique souvenirs serve as a reminder of the new connections formed and the memories made. 

“My favorite DECA memory was at the grand closing ceremony. My friends and I ran around the stadium before the ceremony began and talked to so many people from all over the country in a last-ditch effort to trade pins,” said VP of Student Membership Emily Drelick.

The actual conference was from April 23 to April 26; however, participants visited several other locations during their stay. The trip allowed DECA members to spend quality time with their friends and enjoy Atlanta’s activities.

“My favorite memory from ICDC was attending Andretti Indoor Karting and Games Marietta with all of Florida DECA. I was able to go go-karting, play laser tag, and participate in other games with friends from my chapter and other nearby schools,” said Russinoff.

All DECA chapters competing at ICDC visited Six Flags Over Georgia. Additionally, MSD students visited the Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coca-Cola.

Although MSD had no student place in the top three at ICDC, there were a handful of members who were recognized as finalists and/or placed in the top 10 of their competitive category:

    • Morgan Fink and Macy Meis – 5th place in Career Development Project
    • Madisyn Fierstat and Sienna Klein – 7th place in Buying and Merchandising Operations Research
    • Maddison Shapiro – Top 10 Exam Scorers in Restaurant and Food Service Management Series
    • Olivia Binder, Samantha Bross, and Lindsay Nattis – Finalist in Sports and Entertainment Marketing Operations Research

The ICDC experience overall was memorable for many of the MSD DECA competitors. The annual DECA competition process will restart at the beginning of the upcoming school year.

The 2022-2023 ICDC will take place in Orlando, Florida, from April 22 to April 25.

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