Palo Alto High School’s DECA club is optimistic for its next season after sending six members to the International Career Development Conference from April 23 through April 26 in Nashville, Tennessee.
The club itself is only two years old, so the students were the first from Paly to qualify and attend the competition, according to Paly DECA co-president and senior Stephanie Cong.
“I was able to place in the top ten in my event, which was awesome, but it was really cool to just be able to see and meet people from DECA worldwide,” Cong said.
According to Cong, the competition hosts students from all over the world who are then separated by their respective events. The individuals then compete in groups of 20, from which the top two of each heat move on as finalists. The top ten overall, from all of the groups for each event, place internationally.
“At the international level, we represent California DECA more than anything, all the chapters from each school in the three regions of California unite as one and support each other no matter their attachments to their schools or districts,” Cong said.
Students had to have qualified at the state level before representing California in the international competition, according to Cong.
“We qualified by placing in the top 4 for our [individual] event at the state competition,” Cong said. “I competed in the Financial Consulting Event, Josh and Samarth competed in the Public Relations Project, Nicholas in Accounting Applications Series and Hannah and Allison in Hospitality and Tourism Operations Research.”
Club members prepare for competitions, such as ICDC, throughout the year through various methods, including working on written projects or presentations, mock events and role playing, as well as practicing for the multiple choice tests that are included in many events, according to Cong.
According to junior Josh Code, the events contain a mixture of presentations, multiple choice tests and reports.
“[For our project] a judge read our report, evaluated it and then evaluated our 15 minute presentation,” Code said.
Sophomore Nicholas Zhao echoed Cong’s sentiments and excitement about the opportunity of attending the international competition.
“Representing Paly DECA was surreal, especially since it is the first time our school has had people qualify for ICDC,” Zhao said.“The most memorable moment would be walking into opening ceremony and seeing the 18,000 students that had come from across the globe. Going to ICDC is an amazing experience that every student has the opportunity to have by joining DECA, and I definitely recommend that students join next year.”