AV DECA travels to Orlando to compete in last and largest conference


Provided by Kacie Hu

AV DECA poses for a team picture at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL.

From April 22 to 25, members of Amador Valley’s DECA team traveled across the country to Orlando, FL to compete in the annual International Career Development Conference (ICDC). 

“Going to ICDC is one of the most fun conferences. By the end, I was really sad because it was my last DECA conference, and getting to know everyone was honestly the best part. I’m going to miss being part of this community,” said AV DECA Co-President Pallavi Shankar  (‘23).

DECA members from across the country have been preparing for this conference since the beginning of the year as it is the last and most competitive conference hosted during the school year.

“At NorCal, I definitely saw people who didn’t think they would place and they didn’t. However, they learned and worked harder and went to states and made it to ICDC and that’s just really nice to see. Especially sophomores, where it’s their first time and they get so far,” said Shankar.

To become a qualified competitor at ICDC, DECA members have to place at a certain level during the state competition (SCDC). These members have a little less than 2 months to do final preparations.

“Since this was my first year in DECA, I had really ambitious goals of making it to ICDC. And I did so getting there and competing was cool. The competition is a little stressful because you’re against the best of the best across the country but I had a lot of fun,” said Varadan Kalkunte (’25).

Many spent their downtime at the hotel doing last-minute preparations for their event’s competition. With AP testing, finals, and the school year ending, AV DECA members had to balance their stress with their workload.

“Especially at the hotel, I could see numerous people practicing their writtens and role plays in the hotel lobby. Our members practiced heavily and really tried their best to give their all and I’m so proud of their achievements and how far they’ve come in DECA,” said AV DECA Co-President Andrea Yang (‘23).

While the purpose of the trip was for the competition, the team enjoyed traveling to a new state and networking with people brought up in different environments and cultures.

“I got to talk to a lot of kids from a bunch of places, for example, New Jersey or Texas. It’s cool to see what they do differently than us. Like some teams have game nights and festivals for their students. Their culture is really different and I’m constantly thinking about how I can take that back to Amador,” said AV Business Academy Director Anisha Madiraju (‘24)

Nearly a week long, the trip also provided opportunities for members to bond within the chapter itself. After working with each other through the school year, many of these members strengthened their relationships with one another. 

“I just really enjoyed seeing the students bond [because] they weren’t necessarily from one group of friends but instead were always there for each other. When someone was hurt, everyone came together to help and to just be there,” said AV DECA Advisor Rabia Marjan Akrami.

The AV DECA team took advantage of being in a new city by going to local attractions. This included Universal Studios, a wax museum, and a museum of illusions. This was the last travel event of the year.

“It’s been such a rewarding journey seeing everyone grow at their own pace and I can’t wait to see what they’ll achieve in the future,” said Yang.