DECA makes a run for ICDC in Orlando

Sam Kelderman, Staff Writer

Hard work, loads of fun, and rewarding accomplishments. That’s one way to describe the Washington State DECA competition on March 5-6, where 16 out of 54 Liberty students qualified for the International Career and Development Conference (ICDC) in Orlando, Florida, on April 25-28. Among those students were returning international competitors, two new sophomores, and a few new seniors. However, according to sophomore and international qualifier Ron Fine, this number did not come as a surprise.

“Throughout Liberty DECA history, taking around 15 students has been about the average, so we are looking on par with that,” Fine said.

Even though fewer students qualified this year compared to last, qualifiers agree that the level of competence these students brought to the table was exceptional.

“Last year we sent 19 students to nationals,” junior and international qualifier Tyler Wray said. “Even though that number is a little lower this year, we have a really high quality group going to ICDC and everyone placed really high in their events. Overall, I think it was a good performance for Liberty.”

Two sophomores, Riley McNutt and Fine, qualified for the international competition, placing fourth and fifth in their events. Both of them have high hopes for ICDC.

“I think ICDC will be very competitive and it will be a new animal to take on,” McNutt said. “I am very excited to go there and try my best. I took notes from Mr. Gapinski and the judges, so I am going out there to try to bring home a trophy for Liberty.”

The preparation that was needed before the state competition was a long process, where DECA advisor Chris Gapinski’s ultimate goal was to present students in a confident and professional matter. In class, the students focus on simulations and presentations to help them prepare for the state and international competitions. Overall, Gapinski was satisfied with the DECA students’ performances.

“My favorite moment is the awards,” Gapinski said. “It’s all about the buildup which we work so hard for, and then it all transpires within a couple hours.”