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Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

The student news site of Westwood High School.

Westwood Horizon

DECA Members Experience Difference at International Conference

Courtesy of Westwood DECA
Posing with the chapter’s banner, DECA members beam together at their shared success. In order to prepare for the International Career Development Conference (ICDC), many students worked tirelessly to perfect their projects, hone presentation skills, and study hard for event-based exams.

Culminating a year of extensive research and preparation, numerous practice presentations, and an abundance of exposure to the real-world business environment, students traveled to Anaheim, California to take part in the annual Distributive Clubs of America’s (DECA) International Career Development Conference (ICDC) from April 27 to April 30. Surpassing last year’s record of 50 international competitors, Westwood took 69 students to participate in the conference, amongst which a record-breaking 38 were recognized for their exemplary success.

Winning two DECA glass[es] sets a high standard for excellence and serves as a reminder that winning glass isn’t a far-fetched dream, but something that is possible with hard work and determination.

— Sahiti Oruganti '25

“At ICDC, I [was able to] really open my eyes to greater leaders and very hard working people,” Karen Chen ‘26 said. “From this experience, the biggest thing that I learned was to strive for a good work ethic.”

Each stage of the five-day conference busied students in taking part in a myriad of bonding and networking opportunities, fun local excursions, and college/career exposure events. However for many students, working deep into the night to perfect the last-minute changes to their presentations, and doing one final run-through of their test-prep flashcards was their primary priority during their time at ICDC. Striving to place high and come out on top amongst the most qualified students across the world, students prepared for a series of dynamic competitive events, ranging from topics such as marketing and selling to finance and investments. 

“I contacted officers, participated in the preparation events hosted by Westwood DECA, and looked at [previous] presentation rubrics to understand and improve the weak points of my presentation,” Sahiti Oruganti ‘25 said. “For the test, I made it a goal to learn new finance- my event cluster- vocabulary every week for a few weeks before ICDC.” 

Diverging from the competitive environment of the conference, students found solace and relaxation through the many entertainment options in the local vicinity, as well as those provided by DECA. By being able to connect with fellow students across the nation, brought together by key cultural trinkets such as state-themed hats and pins, students were able to gain an insightful bonding experience with numerous distinct individuals. 

“I came across very talented [and] dedicated individuals on my trip,” Oruganti said. “Sometimes, I can get boxed up in Westwood and forget that there is a whole wide world out there with people one thousand times better than me. [ICDC taught me] to prioritize constant growth and to make myself a better person every day. There will always be competition and one can never be truly happy with themselves if they are constantly competing or comparing themselves with others.” 

Reaching the highest level of achievement, two students showcased their capstone success by bringing home DECA glass trophies. Ranking at the top of their respective events, Aiden Wen ‘26 placed 2nd while Mahi Junnare ‘27 placed 3rd. 

“Winning two DECA glass[es] sets a high standard for excellence and serves as a reminder that winning glass isn’t a far-fetched dream, but something that is possible with hard work and determination,” Oruganti said. “This success [will] also [likely] help the club get more resources and support its members better.”


Below is a list of students who were awarded for their excellence at ICDC: 

Top 20: 

Financial Consulting: Saisha Sriram ‘26

Community Awareness Project: Ashwin Harirama ‘24, Shrivetha Senthil ‘24, Sheevani Talati ‘24

Buying and Merchandising Team Decision Making: Aarnav Chitari ‘24, Peter Kim ‘24

Principles of Finance: Hersh Singh ‘26

Financial Consulting: Sahiti Oruganti ‘25

Apparel and Accessories Marketing Series: Shubhangi Bhattacharya ‘24


Top Testing:

Principles of Finance: Vedant Desai ‘26

Business Services Marketing Series: Arnav Maskey ‘26

Entrepreneurship Team Decision Making: Mishree Narasaiah ‘25


Top 10:

Career Development Project: Dawoon Jung ‘25, Chloe Oakley ‘25, Isabella Shi ‘25

Sports and Entertainment Marketing Operations Research: Camila Carrillo ‘25, Shuyu Lai ‘25, Sophie Liu ‘25

International Business Plan: Tanvi Kadiri ‘25, Rifah Mirza ‘25, Phylicia Ren ‘25

Hotel and Lodging Management Series: Josephine Sun ‘26

Stock Market Game: Aiden Wen ‘26 (2nd in the world)

Principles of Hospitality and Tourism: Mahi Junnare ‘27 (3rd in the world)



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Aarya Kale
Aarya Kale, Reporter
Class of 2026 Hey! Besides being a passionate writer and photographer, I also happen to have a liking for all things cheese :) If I don’t happen to be eating some, I’m probably off reading a nice book or hanging out with my friends!

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