DECA competes at internationals

International qualifiers face challenges as they navigate virtual competitions


Robert Brunetti

Discussing with DECA member Amelia Konstantinopoulos, junior, Mr. Ryan Popa, business teacher, helps prepare for the upcoming International Career Development Conference (ICDC). The ICDC is an internats competition that consists of a roleplay event and a written event. “The competition is incredibly strong,” he said, “but we have a good chance of having some teams qualify for Finals which would take place next.”

Janai Munoz, Page Editor

Yet again, the Munster DECA team sends off students to internationals. This year, 16 students qualified, although the competition is looking a little different for this particular season. The tournament is being held virtually, much to the team’s disappointment. In any regular season, DECA would be off packing bags with business attire and practicing business proposal speeches on a plan before going to sit and meet with judges. 

“I do wish that DECA was held in-person because nationals this year were supposed to be in Anaheim, California,” Anagha Kodukula, sophomore, said. “However, I’m pretty used to competing virtual by now.”

Instead, students were required to submit a video presentation to their judges for the preliminary competitions, and only a number of students will qualify for the final competition; which will be live on a video call with judges to oversee. 

“I believe that the most important takeaway from internationals will be the overall experience our students will gain from attending the conference,” Mr. Ryan Popa, business teacher, said. “It is disappointing that this year’s competition is virtual because of Covid and that our students who have worked so hard will not be able to interact and network with other students from around North America.” 

Members of team events were to go to after school meetings to prepare, while members of individual events prepared by practice and review. Both events had to rehearse on video. 

“This past year has been unprecedented for everyone and everyone has had to make adjustments. I think that the students have made the best out of the situation,” Mr. Popa said. “The students got their first crack at the virtual format during districts in January and learned from that experience to create better video presentations for the state conference. I’m confident that the students that are participating in Internationals learned even more from their experience at the state conference and will be even more comfortable creating their videos for internationals.”

Some obstacles the team has had to overcome this season has been the different ways of participating in DECA. This whole year has been a struggle with students and learning at home compared to in-school. It’s no doubt that this has become a struggle for such an interactive club. 

“Obstacles have included having some members at home, while others are at school,” Mrs. Miller said. “Learning the “virtual” way over having live competition has also been a challenge.”