By Ivy Lam
After sending more than 200 students to compete at the state level, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s DECA program had over 60 competitors advance to the international level.
Held in Atlanta, Georgia, this year, the International Career Development Conference (ICDC) is the highest level of DECA competition.
Students in the top six in each state within their respective categories qualified to compete at ICDC. Those in seventh or eighth place were put in the “bubble,” which means they could compete in Atlanta if someone in the top six of their category chooses not to compete. MSD had 62 ICDC qualifiers, with 15 in the “bubble.”
“I was very excited when I qualified for ICDC. My partners and I had worked extremely hard on our paper and our presentation for months, so the feeling of qualifying just made it all worth it,” said Jordyn Klein, executive vice president.
Although ICDC takes place from April 23-26, MSD competitors will have a field trip from April 22-27. Currently, the plan is to take a bus to the airport so all students can be accounted for.
“I won in the Accounting category and placed third. I was elated and relieved that my skills were sufficient enough to grab me a qualifying place at a prestigious event,” said junior Joshua Schwartz.
All DECA chapters competing at ICDC will be visiting Six Flags Over Georgia. MSD students will visit the famous Georgia Aquarium, go on a tour of CNN, and visit the World of Coca-Cola. MSD students will also participate in the activities provided at Andretti Indoor Karting and Games Marietta.
“In Atlanta, I’m excited to meet new people and see the different cultures because other countries will be there as well as the other states,” said Klein. “I’m also excited for the activities that we’re going to be doing, as I’ve never been to Six Flags or gone race car driving before.”
Additionally, the MSD DECA executive board creates custom plaid pajama pants as a memento for those going to ICDC. For many competitors this year, it will be the first year that they have qualified at the international level.
“Me and my partner Arielle Hernandez competed in the category of Financial Services Team Decision Making, aka FTDM, and we placed first overall,” said senior Ellena Eichstaedt. “This is my first time qualifying for ICDC, so when they called our names up to the stage, I couldn’t believe we won first place because there were so many good people competing.”
To prepare competitors for the April competition, the MSD DECA officers are hosting ICDC boot camps. Students can come in and have officers assist them with roleplays and representations. Each ICDC competitor will be able to meet with a DECA officer, advisor, or alumni who will judge them on how well they have performed and provide them with personalized feedback.
“The most notable factor for succeeding at ICDC is having the experience under your belt to know what things to do and what things not to do,” said Evan Rubenstein, co-director of competition. “By doing a roleplay or presentation a number of times, you will eventually get better at it.”
At ICDC, the top three competitors in each category are recognized and called to the stage to represent their respective schools.
From now until April 22, the 60+ students who plan to head to Atlanta, Georgia, at the international level are preparing their presentations, roleplays, and papers to succeed at the highest level of DECA competition.
MSD DECA students want to thank the advisors—Lisa Webster, Sharon Cutler, Mitchell Albert, and Dean Broadbent—for their hours of hard work preparing the field trips and providing the resources students need to succeed.
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- Ivy Lam is a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. This school year, she is a member of multiple honor societies and an executive officer for HOSA and Newspaper. Her favorite pastimes include reading, writing, and volunteering.
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