A summary of Harker DECA's experience at ICDC 2023!
Atlanta, Georgia – From Friday, April 22nd, 2022 to Wednesday, April 27, 2022, over fifty members of the Harker DECA chapter traveled to the International Career Development Conference (ICDC) with hopes of bringing home some coveted DECA glass. After last year’s ICDC being online, this year’s conference was definitely a memorable one, especially with the chapter’s competitive success. 14 teams placed as top 20 finalists, with eight finalists making top 10, and one team even winning first place.
“From visiting the World of Coca Cola to attending a Judah and the Lion concert, our chapter had so many opportunities to bond and meet other students in Atlanta,” said first-place winner Annmaria Antony (11). She noted that she and her partner Grace Hoang (11) “went up on the stage without expecting to win, but the moment we heard our names accompanied by cheers from the California section made this conference all the more memorable.”
Finalists are as follows:
- Annmaria Antony, Grace Hoang (11), Marketing Management Team Decision Making
Top 10 Finalists
- Ramit Goyal, Evan Matvey, Ashley Hong (10), Stock Market Game
- Sanaa Bhorkar (9), Professional Selling
- Claire Luo (10), Business Service Marketing Series
- Indigo Lee (11), Start-Up Business Plan
- Zain Vakath (11), Restaurant and Food Service Management Series
- Emily Tan, Emily Zhou (12), Entrepreneurship Team Decision Making
- Sujith Pakala (12), Quick Serve Restaurant Management Series
- Rohan Gorti (11), Retail Merchandising Series
Top 20 Finalists
- Saahira Dayal (9), Principles of Business Management and Administration
- Clarice Wang (12), Human Resources Management Series
- Nikhil Devireddy (11), Marketing Communications Series
- Zeke Weng (11), Elvis Han (12), Marketing Management Team Decision Making
- Sasvath Ramachandran (12), Personal Financial Literacy
Early Friday morning, students met their chaperones at the San Jose International Airport to fly to the Atlanta International Airport, with a quick layover in Austin, Texas. They arrived late that night and were able to walk to the Downtown Atlanta Hyatt Regency, where they checked into their rooms and ordered dinner.
Saturday kicked off with a brief Opening Ceremony from California DECA, highlighting the state’s achievements and introducing the state officer team. Students were each given a bag that contained their lanyards, California DECA baseball hats, state trading pins, and some lights to cheer for their state during the Grand Opening Session later that night. After that, members attended DECA day at Six Flags Over Georgia, where they had the opportunity to network with other chapters and go on rides. Students were able to purchase their DECA blazers for competitions and explore Georgia before heading to the Grand Opening Session at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, where over 21,000 competitors and chaperones attended from around the world.
Bahar Sodeifi (9), a first-year DECA member, said “I was surprised at how many people were a part of DECA, and especially the amount of them who went to Six Flags.”
The next morning, participants took their exams and competed in their preliminary competitions at the Georgia World Conference Center. Students who enrolled in the Emerging Leader Series also attended their courses. After completing their events, participants enjoyed some free time, and in the evening, they attended DECA Night at the Georgia Aquarium and The World of Coca-Cola.
“The aquarium was amazing, and the dolphins at the dolphin show were so cute and talented!” said attendee Shaila Tandon (9).
Monday morning continued with more preliminary competitions and Emerging Leader courses. Participants also visited the exhibitor hall, which contained different booths highlighting entrepreneurship-related corporations and colleges.
“The Emerging Leaders academy was one of the most spirited and fun things I did all year. The other students were so welcoming, and we talked like we were childhood friends,” noted Vedant Balachandran (9).
Later that evening, Harker DECA hosted a pizza party where chapter members played card games and bonded with each other before heading to the DECA exclusive Judah & the Lion concert. The show opener, JEVERSON, is a Pop and Soul/Funk musician from Grenada who played some of his most famous songs, including “Put a Little Sugar On It” and “Move.” After that, Nashville-based Alternative Rock band Judah & the Lion performed for DECA, playing “Take It All Back,” “sportz,” and even an unreleased song.
Tuesday, the last day of the conference, started off with participants attending the Achievement Awards Session to find out if they would become finalists and compete in the final round of competitions later that day. DECA’s executive officer team announced the top 20 finalists for each category, and Harker DECA performed exceptionally, with a whopping 14 teams making it to the final round. After the Awards Session, those who were named finalists gave their presentations, while others had a free afternoon to complete homework, visit the ferris wheel, or spend time with friends and network with other members. In the evening, Harker DECA convened before the Grand Awards Session to congratulate all members on their hard work, and as a token of appreciation, surprised the chapter with ice cream cake. Then, the chapter walked together to the stadium for the Grand Awards Session, where Harker DECA won first place for their Lead4Change campaign. Additionally, top 10 finalists in competitive events were recognized, with Harker DECA sending 9 teams on stage. 11th graders Annmaria Antony and Grace Hoang won first place in Marketing Management Team Decision Making and received loud cheers and support from Harker DECA.
“Seeing people from all around the world going up on stage was very very mind-blowing for me!” said senior and top 10 finalist Emily Tan (12).
After the session, California DECA held a State Dinner back at the hotel, where winners were again recognized for their awards, and members had the opportunity to celebrate as a state. The day concluded with some chapter photos and students packing their bags to return back home.
Early Wednesday morning, Harker DECA made their way to the Atlanta International airport and rushed to catch their flight back to San Jose, stopping briefly in Austin, Texas.
“While all DECA conferences are exciting experiences, ICDC is just on another level when it comes to competition, workshops, and just the overall environment. It’s amazing how in one day you can make friends from a dozen different states, and it’s even better when you see them on stage with you. I’m so glad I got to end my senior year with ICDC, and I’m so proud of all the Harker DECA members who’ve competed this year,” said Harker DECA Co-CEO and top 20 finalist in Human Resources Management Series, Clarice Wang (12).
From cultivating lifelong friendships to making countless memories, ICDC 2022 was undoubtedly an amazing experience for all participants and was the perfect close to the 2021-2022 DECA season.
“This year’s ICDC was an incredible experience for all participants, and I’m extremely impressed with everyone for maximizing their momentum and making great achievements. The conference was a great close to the 2021-2022 competitive season, and I am so proud of all of Harker DECA for their hard work. I’m looking forward to the year ahead and seeing what all of our amazing entrepreneurs continue to achieve in the future!” - Juston Glass, Chapter Advisor.
About The Harker School DECA
Harker DECA is an International Competitive Business Organization that prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in four fields of business: marketing, finance, hospitality, and management. Our DECA chapter integrates classroom instruction, applies learning, connects to business, and promotes competition in order to prepare the next generation to be academically prepared, community oriented, professionally responsible, and experienced leaders.
To learn more about this story, please contact:
Ariana Gauba, Director of Communications