DECA goes to Nationals

14 Students compete in Atlanta, Georgia this Spring

by Ursula Stickelmaier, Cub Co-Editor

Over spring break, 14 DECA students earned an opportunity to compete in the International Career Development Conference (ICDC) on behalf of Shorewood. The competition took place in Atlanta, Georgia with events happening at the Georgia World Congress Center and lasted for six days during break. 

“The experience was really fun because we had a lot of free time between the competitions and events so we got to explore the city a lot,” said DECA student Nicholas Phang, sophomore.

by Photo courtesy of Nicholas Phang

DECA, formerly known as the Distributive Education Clubs of America, is an organization at Shorewood that most students might be familiar with when it comes to things such as the Student Store and the marketing class. Competing in around three major competitions a year, the DECA students work hard to prepare their events while also providing good service to those at Shorewood through the Student Store. 

Events at these conferences can range from role plays that involve a lot of quick thinking to papers that give you more time to prepare. Isa Pintea, a freshman and one of the students who competed at the ICDC, was one of the DECA kids that ended up writing a 20-page paper and giving a 15-minute presentation for the competition. 

Most would say that the hard work and preparation it took to create such a comprehensive paper is remarkable on its own but added to the fact that Pintea is Shorewood’s first freshman to qualify for Internationals just makes it all the more impressive. 

“I don’t want it to seem like I have a God complex or anything, but I just kind of feel like I’m showing freshmen that you can go and while it’s a lot of work, if you try it’s not impossible,” says Pintea. But she isn’t the only young DECA student to go to Internationals this year. Pintea was also accompanied by four sophomores Lily Doll, Nicholas Phang, Maddy Borth, and Jedo Burn.

by Photo courtesy of Nicholas Phang

Over the years the Shorewood DECA team being sent to Internationals has definitely grown. “Shorewood has consistently brought more and more kids to ICDC every year which is a sign that our DECA program has been improving,” says Phang. A team of 14 may not seem that huge to those not familiar with the ICDC but considering the competition itself consists of about 17,000 people from all different parts of the world competing against each other, 14 people can make a big difference compared to the program’s original teams of about eight to 12 students.

Looking to the future, marketing teacher Damon Oliveto is excited to see how DECA will continue to grow from here and encourages kids to take the marketing courses that Shorewood has to offer.

“It’s a unique experience that you can’t get anywhere else in high school, and it makes people get out of their comfort zone in a good way and really gives them things that they’ll use in the future…Even if you’re not going into business, it’ll help you in anything you want to do,” says Oliveto.

Overall, the ICDC was more than just a competition for those who competed in it, it was a chance for kids to bond with one another. “All of us built great memories and relationships with each other and Mr. O, especially because we were with each other 24/7,” says Phang. And it gave everyone an opportunity to learn from people they either wouldn’t have really talked to or possibly never have met in the first place. Pintea says, “I learned a lot about what I wanna do with my future, what I’m good at. I got to bond with all these people who I never would have talked to otherwise…I’m trying to come up with another word just to really say that it was great and it really opened my eyes to the DECA family.”