From Saturday April 22 to 25, for the first time in Carrboro High School history, two DECA members competed in the DECA International Career Development Conference (ICDC), held in Atlanta, Georgia.
DECA competitions began in the fall with the districts competition, which Carrboro DECA members competed in at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center. In early March, DECA members competed at the state level competition, NCDC, at the Joseph S. Koury Convention Center. There were numerous members who received recognition for their competitive events. During the last night of award recognition, the participants that medaled in the first four positions in their event automatically qualified for the international competition. This year, three students from Carrboro High School qualified: Kirby Thornton, senior; Leanne Joyce, senior, and Ojas Patwardhan, junior.
Thornton competed for the Food Marketing event in the marketing career cluster. Similarly to NCDC, the international event consists of two components, a test and 2 role play scenarios, which each make up 50 percent of the overall score.
“I took around seven practice tests to prepare for the 100-question test that we usually take at school, but for internationals you take in a room with thousands of other kids on a scantron. I also went over hundreds of performance indicators and figured out what terms I did not know,” Thornton said.
Joyce did a written event for states in the event of Business Growth Plan for the Entrepreneurship cluster, which she also participated in for ICDC. For the Business Growth Plan, Joyce wrote a 30-page paper, explaining her plan. At the competition, Joyce presented her business plan to the judges of the event.
“After placing second at our state competition, I revised my work and was them ready to turn in my 29-page paper for ICDC. My event also required a 15-minute presentation and Q&A about my growth plan which I practiced numerous times prior to competing,” Joyce said via an email interview.
According to the official DECA website, the international competition brings together over 18,000 members and students, and there is the opportunity to make numerous connections with many different people.
“It’s socially acceptable to walk up to literally anyone and ask them what event they are in and where they are from, because everyone is so social and really into networking. They make it easy to do so, because each state or province has hats or pins, so people trade them back and forth,” Thornton said.
During Tuesday night, at the award ceremony for her event, Joyce was a top 10 finalist for her event. Similarly to Thornton, Joyce agreed that the atmosphere within the competition made conversation very easy.
“ICDC had a very vibrant energy, and it was incredible to interact with students from all over the world who are united by an interest in business and entrepreneurship,” Joyce said.
Photo courtesy Kirby Thornton