Record-Breaking Number of Students Advance to DECA ICDC


Sathvik Allala

Emily Lu ’19 smiles with her trophy.

Jenny Xu, Executive Editor

Following weeks of preparation, Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) students were able to put their skills to the test at the 2018 State Career Development Conference (CDC) on Feb. 20-22 in Dallas. Records were broken all across the board, with a total of 178 Westwood students attending the competition, the most state-qualifiers out of any other Texas school. Out of those students, 49 placed first in their event’s section, earning a trip to the International Career Development Conference (ICDC) held in Atlanta during April. Chapter presidents and vice president, Yash Purohit ‘18, Prathyush Shankar ‘18, and David Kim ‘19 will also be attending ICDC to participate in educational academies.

“It was an incredibly successful conference,” chapter adviser Mr. Jeffery Siler said. “I love seeing the students’ passion and enthusiasm, and just the electrifying atmosphere that comes with DECA.”

Early on in the year, chapter officers made it their goal to break school records, and with over 50 students making the trip to Atlanta, Westwood will be sending the most students to ICDC out of all Texas schools.

“Beyond the numbers, I just wanted the kids to learn, have fun, gain some confidence, and get exposure to other great students,” Mr. Siler said.

Competitive events ranged from interactive role plays and presentations to virtual events. Each event was separated into sections, and those who placed first in their group qualified for ICDC. Second-place finishers were named as alternates.

“This is my third year in DECA, my first year I didn’t even state qualify, but last year I was an alternate, so going the next step and actually qualifying for ICDC this year was really cool,” Tanya Chen ‘19 said. “I put in a lot more effort and I really studied hard, and it paid off.”

Several freshmen placed first in their section as well, often competing against more experienced DECA competitors.

“I’m pretty proud of my partner [Alayna Pelayo ’21] and I for doing so well in an event that we really tried so hard to improve in over the course of these competitions,” first-time competitor Naser Farhataziz ‘21 said. “Our goal was just to do the best that we could and it just so happened that we did. I’m really excited to be able to go to Atlanta to compete, we want to try and improve even more off of our state competition.”

While at the conference, students had the opportunity to mingle with other competitors both during and after their competition, as events such as Casino Night were offered.

“I met a lot of cool people while I was actually waiting for my event, some people were from the Austin area and I had seen them at UIL competitions for the same kind of career area,” Chen said. “It was cool seeing them again and being able to talk to them outside of UIL.”

Those advancing to ICDC will have the chance to compete with over 10,000 DECA members from across the world, while also visiting some of Atlanta’s most well-known attractions, including the Georgia Aquarium.

“From a numbers standpoint we want to get some students to make the final round and get on stage,” Mr. Siler said. “But beyond that we just want students to be inspired about business and develop a deeper belief in themselves, to take it to another level.”

The full list of students attending the 2018 ICDC can be found here.