Last month, over 100 students from Ridgewood High School traveled to Atlantic City for DECA’s annual State Development Career Conference. The three day conference consisted of paper and role play presentations, as well as Downtown DECA.
Ms. Mendez, one of the chapter’s advisors, said “I was initially panicked when so many people qualified because we had only pre-booked 45 seats for the flight to Orlando!”. RHS DECA is thriving this year as it is sending the most qualifiers in the chapter’s history to the International Development Career Conference (ICDC) in Orlando, Florida.
Unlike the state conference, students are only eligible to compete in one event at ICDC, but that does not stop many Ridgewood DECA students from striving to qualify in more than one event. Day 1 of the State’s Career Development Conference (SCDC) consisted of 20 page paper presentations and opening sessions. On the second day, students competed in their role play events, 10 page papers, and finals if they qualified.
One of the most notable performances was by one of the chapter presidents – Jacob Alvarado. Jacob advanced to ICDC on three different events – role play, paper, and the Virtual Business Challenge (VBC). Jacob said,“It’s amazing to see how many students we are sending to Orlando and how much the chapter has grown in the past 3 years. It is amazing to see the results of everyone’s hard work!”
Alex Ruhl, Jacob’s roleplay partner and a double ICDC qualifier, serves as the NJ DECA Northern Region Vice President and also enjoyed his last state conference. Alex described his experience as “fantastic. After a year of prepping it was great to finally see all of my team’s hard work pay off. Even with a few slip-ups while at states, our team adapted very well making states a great experience for everyone involved!” He is looking forward to his final ICDC as it his last time with his state officer action team and Ridgewood DECA.
The other chapter president, Kathryn Zhou, qualified for ICDC for two events- her paper and VBC. When asked about her experience in Atlantic City, she stated that, “despite the weather, bus delays, and three days of no sun, my last DECA States experience was my favorite. It was so much fun competing again and seeing RHS DECA members succeed- over 50 members will be attending the International Conference and Katie Hu was elected as the President of NJ DECA.” Kathryn is excited for her last and fourth ICDC, along with the rest of the chapter.
As this DECA season is coming to a close, a new team of state officers will take charge. Among these leaders is Katie Hu, the current President of Outreach for Ridgewood DECA. Katie and the other state officer candidates campaigned for an entire day in Atlantic City. Each candidate had to make a speech, and then run a booth with the end goal of obtaining as many votes as possible. The positions on the NJ DECA State Officer Action team include President, Northern Region VP, Southern Region VP, Central Region VP, VP of Public Relations, VP of Media, and Secretary.
While some more experienced members already understood what it truly meant to be a DECA member, the state conference provided a opportunity for others to discover similar passions. Sasha Nadel, a freshmen, commented that, “the students that have already been to states were extremely welcoming and friendly”.
All 50 students attending ICDC are looking forward to the weeklong trip to Orlando, Florida in late April. Ridgewood DECA aspires to continue their successful year on the international stage. The trip to Orlando includes two days at Disney, along with competitions and ceremonies.
Caroline Loscalzo & Katie Hu
news editor & staff writer
Graphic: Sofia Lee