Deca awaits international competition on April 23


Members of Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) will participate in the International Career Development Conference (ICDC) on April 23 at Atlanta. DECA’ s goal is to prepare emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management in high schools and colleges around the globe. Carmel DECA has three phases of competition, district level, state level, and international level. Lots of competitors have advanced to the international portion of the event.

Leo Connell, senior and president of DECA, said this year will be very unique compared to other years. 

“This year is very special because it presents us with a return to normalcy. Last year even though DECA did happen, all of the events were virtual. This year, state and internationals will be in-person which gives all of the members something to actually work towards and look forward to. These competitions not only help students learn more about business but also allow them to have a great time and meet more DECA members,” he said. 

Connell thinks that as time progresses, more and more DECA related events will be held in-person. 

“COVID-19 has definitely limited the number of in-person events we have been able to have including executive team meetings, club events, practice events, and more,” he said.

According to Claire Qu, Chief Marketing Officer and senior, the executive team meets early Oct. to discuss changes regarding DECA members.

“The number of DECA members has decreased due to the new requirement of taking a business class,” she said.

Sponsor Laura Cardamon said she is excited for the changes this year because going virtual last year took away some of the excitement for DECA.

Cardamon said, “We are really really busy. We are getting all the kids registered. They have picked their events, and are doing their packets to study their vocab.”

Qu said they started competitions in late December and early January.

“The number of DECA members has decreased due to the new requirement of taking a business class. In my opinion, there are pros and cons to this,” She said. “The pro is that members are more aware of what’s going on since business teachers can give all of their classes updates. The con is that many students who aren’t able to take a business class lose out on an amazing opportunity.”

Alongside Cardamon, Rob Holman is also a sponsor of DECA at this school. Holman hopes students are ready for high-level in-person competition.

Holman said, “ Last spring it affected us to a great extent. ICDC (International Career Development Conference) in Nashville had to be canceled. This year our district, state, and international competitions will all be held in-person. So the students will have the normal experience of competing live in a high pressure situation in front of judges.”

Qu also said that lots of protocols have been put into account to ensure the safety of all students in this club.

“We have been trying to split into smaller and smaller groups to lessen the spread of COVID-19 this year. Since most of our events were virtual last year, the planning process is much different than how it is normally. We are definitely relying more on social media and remind than in-person meetings this year.” Qu said. 

“Each year, Carmel is responsible for planning the District (school level) competition. District has been a full day of competition, with students coming in and out. We’d usually have about 2000 people at the school throughout the day, which the administration is not letting happen anymore,” she said. “This year, we are still unsure about how in-person competition will go, so we are just focusing on making sure students are ready for anything. The state and international conferences are planned by the DECA organization, so we are still awaiting to hear the decision of how those conferences will be held.”

Holman said that there were no benefits from switching to virtual last year rather than in-person regarding competition in DECA.

“It’s usually very fast paced and very exciting but last year it was all virtual, so we all won a free virtual trip downtown. This was really challenging for students to overcome because we usually have a really exciting trip out of state or to the JW Marriot hotel,” he said.

He also said the DECA executive team has been working through lots of challenges related to going online.

“From a communication standpoint it has been challenging. The executive team is doing their best to get information out to students. They have been outstanding in resolving any issues that have occurred through the process of switching to mostly online communication,” he added.

Srikrishna Ganeshan, DECA state competitor and sophomore, said he has put in a lot of time to do well in the competition.

“I’m preparing for the state competition by primarily practicing the cluster-finance exams and role plays that are provided. As well as just making sure I have enough content memorized that I can present and show to the judges,” Ganeshan stated.

Ganeshan also mentioned in these high level competitions, your emotions and nerves have a big impact on how you perform. 

“In general, I try not to get too nervous whenever I have a presentation. But sometimes whenever you go up to present your nerves kick in and you forget everything. The best way to get over this is to just practice a lot, in the past I have done a substantial amount of presentations so I don’t believe I’ll get nervous during competition,” he added.