3 seniors win DECA glass at Nationals

Rohita and Dedeep place 2nd in their events at ICDC. .

Provided by Kathleen Lehan

Rohita and Dedeep place 2nd in their events at ICDC. .

Mengmeng Zhang, Staff Writer

At the 2023 DECA Nationals, 48 WA students attended the DECA International Career Development Conference (ICDC) and competed in 40 different events in Orlando, Florida. With more than 22,000 attendees from across the world, and around 187 to 237 competitors in each event, it is a difficult feat to receive a top score.

The event took place during the week of April vacation, from April 22 to April 25. This year’s ICDC champions from WA include seniors Kush Gami, Dedeep Surampudi, and Rohita Krishnakumar.

Gami, a DECA officer, won fourth place in Human Resources Management. This event is an individual series that is focused on interacting with people and maintaining sustainability in a company through the employees.

“We’re usually given a problem related to issues involving employees or policy within the workplace, then develop a solution, solve that issue, and also make sure that it can be implemented in the future going back to the sustainability portion,” Gami said.

According to Gami, the ICDC experience involved seeing people from all over the country as well as other parts of the world.

“You meet a lot of new people, see a lot of new faces, and the experience that you have is just really cool because  everything’s tailored towards you and the best experience you can make out of it,” Gami said.

Another one of the events in DECA is Food Marketing. This event involved role plays concerning stop-eating grocery store ads, finding solutions as to how to expand international markets, and making a promotional plan for a shuttle service to a grocery store. Surampudi, a fourth year DECA member, won second place in this event.

However, Surampudi also found the competition experience to be valuable in its own way apart from winning his prize.

“This is my first year going, but it looked like a lot of fun. […] My friends and I stayed back and enjoyed a nice environment because everyone there was super social and pretty good at speaking, so it was easy to meet new people,” Surampudi said. “But the actual environment at the competition was intense; the first test you’re taking is against a bunch of other people that are all trying to win. But everything else is a lot of fun.”

Krishnakumar, who is the DECA president, won second place in Quick Serve Restaurant Management (QRSM), an event involving service to customers in a fast food restaurant in contrast to a dining style setting.

“I’ve made it to ICDC in the past, but I’ve never gone on an in-person trip. My first year was canceled and the second year ICDC was online, Krishnakumar said. “I was really excited to finally be able to go on a real in-person trip. I got to meet people from Hawaii and Korea. And people came from all across the world […] It was a nice networking experience.”

As it is Krishnakumar’s fourth and final year at DECA, she notes that it was a great way to finish off the seniors’ DECA careers and that the collective life skills that she learned while being in DECA and taking the business classes offered at WA helped her to grow all of these life skills. According to Krishnakumar, it is all about confidence.

“Being confident in yourself and your own abilities is really important to get yourself to that international level,” Krishnakumar said.

Surampudi notes that mindset is key to making it to ICDC.

“I think winning glass is something people say [is hard] but I feel like it’s not as hard to get as you think. […] I feel like once you’re at ICDC, you have the mindset that you’re super close, you’ve just got to get through 20 minutes of role plays and the hour of the test. But I think if people just work with their mind towards it, it’s super achievable,” Surampudi said.