DECA brings home international medals


During the Pride Assembly, DECA students are recognized for qualifying for the International Career Development Conference, also known as ICDC. Eighteen members qualified for ICDC, which took place from April 23 to April 26 in Atlanta, Ga. Photo by Claire Satkiewicz

Junior Kristin Yun woke up at 6:30 a.m. feeling nervous about her first performance the previous day in the International Career Development Conference. She was awaiting results to determine if she would place in the top 20 in her event and move on to the final round later that day.

“My judge was giving [me] this weird look the entire time, so I didn’t feel very good about placing,” said Yun in a phone interview. “I literally had my AP Chemistry book with me the entire time because I was like, ‘There’s no way I’m going to be placing, I might as well just study.’”

Eighteen Glenbrook North students placed in the top three at the Illinois Career Development Conference in their respective events, which then qualified them for the International Career Development Conference, also known as ICDC. There, they competed in either a role-play or written event. Those who placed in the top 20 in the first round at ICDC continued to the final round.

After Yun’s final round, she felt it was not her best performance but she could live with it, Yun said.

“I was mainly just trying to calm myself down and get back into focus, because I didn’t practice my presentation the night before because I was also so confident that I didn’t make it [to the final round],” Yun said.

Clusters within DECA serve as umbrella categories for a total of 57 events. There are five clusters: entrepreneurship, finance, marketing, business management and administration, hospitality and tourism.

Yun competed in a role-play event in which she acted as a sales representative pitching her presentation to the judge playing the client.

Junior Darshan Kommanapalli competed in a written event on hospitality and tourism. This event includes a multiple-choice exam and a presentation prepared by the student beforehand.

Kommanapalli also placed first in the MDA Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Challenge. For this virtual event, Kommanapalli created a video about how the Muscular Dystrophy Association could promote diversity, equity and inclusion in the college-age demographic. The deadline for submission was in February. Kommanapalli learned of his placement in March, and received recognition at the Grand Awards Session at ICDC on April 26.

“It doesn’t really set in until you go to the stage and you look up and there’s [so many] people all around you,” Kommanapalli said.

In addition to Yun and Kommanapalli, five DECA members placed in the top 10 and two others placed in the top 20.

In between learning her placement in the top 20 and final performance, Yun had downtime at the hotel, Yun said.

To show their moral support, her teammates walked her to the bus that took her from the hotel to the convention center, Yun said.

Yun felt calm because her teammates continued to show their support, Yun said.

“I knew I had the backing of my teammates there and that no matter what happens, they’re still [going to] be there for me,” said Yun. “I think that’s the reason I was so calm in that moment.”