By: Cash Kowalski, The Woodlands High School Senior
Seventeen students advanced to the international level at the Texas State Conference, held from Feb. 24-26 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston.
Each year DECA holds a State Career Development Conference (CDC) where thousands of students from across the state compete in business related events and presentations. The top individuals from their event will advance to the International Career Development Conference (ICDC), which will take place in Atlanta from April 23-26.
“This is the most students we’ve ever had make finalist and qualify for ICDC,” said club advisor Kendra Meyers. “The students really worked hard in preparing themselves for state. All 45 students that went to state had to do a practice presentation in front of me and Iâve never done that before.”
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, all DECA events were moved online. This took away large portions of the State CDC experience and distilled it into a single 10-minute video presentation. This year, the competition was brought back to an in-person format with networking opportunities, a concert, and an awards ceremony.
“We didn’t take anything for granted,” said senior Ana Galeana. “It’s sad leaving because I grew up with these people for four years. Thinking back to freshman year I never really thought I was going to join a club like this, but I am so happy I was in DECA because it shaped me into who I am today.”
Besides competition, DECA provides leadership opportunities by electing a state officer team to be in charge of running the conference. One of the State Vice Presidents is The Woodlands High School senior Caroline Wei, responsible for managing the logistics of the conference.
“We were always on our feet,” said senior Caroline Wei. “That busyness contributed to a really successful State Conference so Iâm really grateful for it. I am excited to compete and go through that hype one last time and return back to that place where I first fell in love with DECA.”
That place was attending ICDC her freshman year through an academy allocation spot. While she did not get to compete as a freshman, she got the opportunity to attend classes that taught her about leadership, just like senior Mahek Dodani, who also attended ICDC her freshman year.
“That kind of experience is invaluable,” senior Mahek Dodani said. “Through the Thrive academy spots I learned a lot about how to become a better public speaker and how to be very efficient and productive with my time in high school. If you heard about DECA and want to do business, you hit the jackpot.”
This story is being featured as a result of a partnership between the Conroe ISD Communications Department and high school journalism teachers. Visit The Woodlands High School website to learn more about their student journalism program.