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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DECA goes to Nationals

Suitcase wheels roll on the floor, gray bins clatter onto the conveyor belt, and stressed-out dads huff as they check their watches for the hundredth time. These are all classic sounds of the airport. A Santa Ana Airport TSA agent scans another bag on an April afternoon, and the light buzzes red. Is it a weapon? Is it an explosive? No, it’s a… pane of glass?

This pane of glass is a trophy only awarded to the top three finishers of each category in DECA competitions, and it was won by Liberty freshman Vivian Zhou.

She and Liberty’s thirty-four other DECA Nationals qualifiers traveled to Anaheim, California, to attend the International Career Development Conference this spring. From April 27 to 30, over 23,000 students from around the world came together at the Anaheim Convention Center to compete in various categories in the business and marketing realms. 

Zhou broke a school record by placing second internationally in her category of Principles of Hospitality and Tourism. She is the first freshman to make it to the podium in Liberty history. 

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At first, she was intimidated by the stiff competition.

“When I was preparing during the month beforehand, I was thinking, ‘oh wow, I’m going up against so many talented people,’” Zhou said. 

However, she decided to take on a more positive way of thinking. 

“I made sure that I went in with the mindset of: ‘I’m going to try my best, and I’m going to have a good time, even if I don’t place.”

Being at Nationals gave students a great opportunity to network with people from across the country. 

“It’s really fun when you’re waiting for your event and you get to talk and make jokes with a lot of people from different parts of the country and the world,” senior Jefferey Lin said. “It’s really cool to see how their DECA program is, how they got to Nationals, and just their life in general.” 

DECA, which stands for Distributive Education Clubs of America, is a very popular elective amongst Patriots.

“I originally did DECA to explore careers in the marketing, business, and finance niche, but I’ve come back with so much more than that,” sophomore Shreyas Kolwalkar said. “Coming out of DECA, it’s more about learning how to present yourself, speak to people, and be confident.”

“It’s a really great skill to have no matter what field you’re going into, whether that be business, engineering, computer science, or whatever. It’ll help you advance your career as well,” said Lin. 

However, Nationals was not all about the competition. DECA embraces the importance of fun and community.

“My favorite experience going to Nationals was spending time with my chapter and doing fun activities like going to Disneyland,” said senior Tiffany Tran.

“I went on a whole lot of roller coasters, and it was a ton of fun,” Kolwalkar said. “DECA people are super supportive, kind, and we’re all one big family.”

About the Contributor
Ellie Nishino
Ellie Nishino, Staff Writer
Ellie Nishino is a sophomore at Liberty High School and a staff writer for the Patriot Press. She has a great passion for filmmaking and walking her dog, Toby.