By: Gaby Becker, Editorial Staff (‘25)

This past April, Indian Hills sent 19 students, from varying grade levels, to the in-person DECA International Career Development Conference (ICDC) located in Atlanta, GA. Due to COVID-19, many DECA events, including the past two national competitions, have been either canceled or moved virtually. 2022 marks the return of DECA Nationals for the first time since the pandemic. Hills DECA members joined nearly 17,500 other high schoolers from around the world in the fierce competition to take home the coveted DECA awards, known as DECA glass. This year’s membership theme was to “Maximize Your Momentum!”, which emphasizes DECA members’ opportunities to always strive for the best and success in all areas of their lives— from DECA, school, and within their community. 

In Atlanta, Indian Hills competed in team decision making events and individual events and attended leadership workshops. Competitive events are compromised of a exam and a roleplay where students are given case studies about business issues, and then, must present solutions to the complications to real business professionals who judge and score based on the quality of their presentation and solution. The final score is comprised of the judging score and an exam score based on the area of business the event is focused on (i.e Marketing, Hospitality and Tourism, Finance, etc). In addition to competing in various competitive events, some students attended the Emerging Leader Series workshops where they attained 21st Century Skills in the areas of collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity. 

DECA ICDC was a great success for Indian Hills with three big winners; seniors Courtney Ficarra and Erica Quadrini finished in top 10 globally in the Sports & Entertainment Team Decision Making Event. In addition, the duo were awarded first place for their team performance in the roleplay aspect of the competition. Also, senior Jennifer Mason was awarded a silver medal for her top score in the Hospitality Career Cluster Exam. 

When asked about the ICDC DECA experience this year, DECA advisor Ms. Fanale said, “DECA’s International Career Development Conference is a pinnacle and showcase of how DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management in high schools and colleges around the globe. I am incredibly proud and continually impressed by all of our participants and winners.” 

Ficarra also added, “The DECA ICDC trip not only allowed us to build upon our professional and critical thinking skills, but it was also a truly memorable bonding experience that introduced new friendships. It was a great opportunity to connect with students from Ramapo as well. As national finalists, my partner Erica Quadrini and I gained experience in leadership and public speaking skills and were able to expand our relationship as teammates. One of the most exciting parts of the trip was getting to explore the city of Atlanta through different attractions like the World of Coca-Cola, the Aquarium, and even a Braves baseball game. After being a member of DECA for 3 years, I can understand why it is one of the largest clubs here at Indian Hills. It provides both academic and social opportunities that can not be found elsewhere. I definitely encourage anyone who is thinking about getting involved to do so!”  

Junior and newly elected NJ DECA State Officer Ryan LaDuca reiterated, “ICDC 2022 in Atlanta was such an amazing experience. Being able to meet so many like minded people and learn, compete, and get better is one of the best parts about DECA. The trip went very well with many of our Ramapo Indian Hills members being able to become top 10 finalists in the world! Overall it was a great experience and successful trip […] we are looking forward to Orlando [ICDC] 2023 next year.”