Forum for student expression since 1977

The Patriot Press

Forum for student expression since 1977

The Patriot Press

Forum for student expression since 1977

The Patriot Press


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Liberty DECA goes to state

What do Liberty gymnastics, fairy tales, and DECA all have in common? Unicorns. 

Liberty’s DECA program has a tradition of bringing ‘good luck unicorns’ to competitions every year to maximize their success, and at this year’s State Career and Development Conference (SCDC), these unicorns worked their magic. With 35 people qualifying for DECA’s International Career Development Conference (ICDC), a 7 person increase from last year, this long-standing program’s success is clear.  

“It was a really good year for liberty DECA, especially for underclassmen. We had record numbers of underclassmen, both DECA ones and DECA twos qualified,” said state champion, DECA finance officer, and Liberty Junior, Raksha Ravishankar. 

Over a four-day conference from February 29th through March 2nd, Liberty students across all grades prepared, presented, and pitched ground-breaking ideas to industry experts that evaluated them in a variety of categories. The goal for every competitor is to win a coveted spot at ICDC in Anaheim this spring, where they will have the opportunity to compete against students from around the world.

From role play events that require students to formulate a presentation under strict time constraints to paper events that take months of preparation, the DECA program helps students hone in on their presentational and professional skills. DECA also teaches critical life lessons on improvement and dedication. 

“Through DECA I’ve learned to never give up. I didn’t qualify last year but I was a triple qualifier this year,” said member of DECA’s development board Junior Tyler Rubenstein. This year Rubenstein made Liberty DECA history as the first member to qualify for ICDC in three events. 

Rubenstien’s achievement was not all that was new for Liberty DECA either. This year Liberty students had the opportunity to stay at a hotel in Bellevue for the duration of the conference, something that has not been possible since before the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Because we stayed in a hotel and for the whole event, I had a free day to network and hang out with my partner, which was really nice,” said senior and ICDC qualifier Emilie Duran. 

The overnight component of the trip was not the only factor that contributed to DECA’s success this year though. 

“We’ve done some more workshops this year, and we are always trying to improve the way that we prepare students. Tyler Rubenstien created a workshop for the principal event, which is our first year student event, and all five of those students qualified for nationals,” said DECA advisor and teacher, Chris Gapinski. 

It is innovations like these that allow for this program to do so well. With four state champions and almost half of this year’s competitors qualifying for ICDC, both students and their advisor see great potential for nationals. Much of this potential comes from the dedication of this year’s competitors. No matter how much the program prepares students, their success still often comes down to their own drive to practice and prepare. 

“We have a strong group going to nationals this year. It’s always about quality, not necessarily quantity. This year’s students practiced their fair share, this year was a good year and things just went in our favor,” said Gapinski. 


About the Contributor
Amelia Matin
Amelia Matin, Staff Writer
Amelia Matin is a Junior at Liberty High School and a Staff Writer for the Patriot Press. She is the treasurer of Liberty Model United Nations and a Patriot Crew leader. In her free time, she can be found volunteering at and organizing city events, enthusiastically ranting about the most recent political event, listening to depressing pop music, and hanging out with friends.