DECA triumps over competitors at conference

Out of the 30 DECA students who went to Orlando, Florida to compete at the International Career Development Conference (ICDC), eight students placed in the Top Ten.

The competition, which took place from April 30 to May 6 “went very well,” senior and DECA Board President senior Jesse Peterson said. “Orlando is a much more fun place … and there were a lot of things for us to do outside the classroom.” Prior to the trip DECA students sold Statesmen Star Cards in order to fund the trip to the Nationals competition and in order to increase awareness about its chapter. Using those funds, students were also able to tour Disney World and Universal Studios While less students from DECA were able to compete at Nationals this year, in comparison with last year, “the pressure was a lot lower,” Peterson said.

Junior Jeta Krasniqi echoed similar sentiments, saying that she “expected it to be a lot harder than it actually was,” because the competition hosted over 16,000 competitors from high schools and colleges from across the world.

Marketing teacher Jen Hendrickson said that she was “amazed at what these students have maintained in the six weeks between [States and Nationals].”

“They’ve revised 30-page papers, they’ve worked really hard on their visual aid boards, they’ve gone and looked at their critiques from their state scores, and the’ve really positioned themselves well,” she said.

DECA sent the most projects to Nationals out of Virginia for the second year in a row.

In addition to that title, six students also hit the top ten percent mark for international competency.

Peterson’s group was among those recognized for International Competency.

“Although we may not have moved to finals, due to a very competitive flight, our scores put us in the top 10 percent of all competitors,” Peterson said.

Krasniqi was also in one of the groups that was recognized for Competency. Krasniqi, alongside junior Haley Butterfield and junior Carrie Zettler, submitted a proposal centered around the possibility of a mobile salon that would be convenient for the everyday businesswoman. According to the junior, a judge gave her group a substantial amount of positive commentary.

“She told us that our business was ‘golden’ and she gave us our business card and told us to contact her,” Krasniqi said. “She was a CEO at some huge corporation and she told us we should actually go through our business even though we’re 17.”

Krasniqi’s account was similar to that of Hendrickson’s, who said the mock judges who came in to listen to the students’ presentations remarked that the presentations were better than some professional presentations.

“You cannot get better than that as a compliment to [the] student[s],” Hendrickson said, “whether they win at nationals or not.”