DECA to compete at international meet April 23-27 in Atlanta


Ian Wright

DECA president president Tejaswini Ramkumar Babu presents information about the international meet during a meeting.

After competing in their district meet Jan. 19 and a state meet Feb. 24-26, 11 DECA members, the most in school history, advanced to the international competition which will be held in Atlanta from April 23-27.

“Because we have a bigger chapter this year, we naturally had more people qualify [for internationals] than ever before,” DECA president Tejaswini Ramkumar Babu said. “We had around 140 compete at the district level, 82 at the state level [and now] 11 competing at the international level.” 

Internationals has around 16,000 competitors and is broken up into a preliminary and final round. For the preliminary round, competitors are divided into 16-20 people per session, and the top two people advance to finals.

“DECA will announce the results of the preliminary round on the third day of competing,” Ramkumar Babu said. “Since everyone else is qualified, it is very competitive, [but] I do hope that we get enough people who make it to the final round.” 

In order to prepare for the competition, students have been practicing for their event. The roleplay event consists of students acting out a business scenario, while written events require students to research and create a business plan that they will present to a panel of judges.

“Since we’re competing at the international level, most of us [already] know what to do,” Ramkumar Babu said. “People who have an exam to take have been studying, people who have a project have been doing interviews and research and roleplay [competitors] have been reading and practicing roleplay scenarios.” 

Unlike previous years, this year LISD is covering all expenses for the trip. The conference fee, airfare and the hotel are paid for, and a $300 stipend is included for meals and personal expenses. While competitors are in Atlanta, they are also planning activities such as visits to Emory and Georgia Tech, Olympic Park and the Georgia aquarium. 

“We want to plan a lot of other stuff since it’s a five-day trip, and we are not going to be competing 24/7,” Ramkumar Babu said. “Since we don’t have to pay for anything and we’ll be given money to spend, all we have to do is pay for a rail pass and we can go anywhere as long as we have a staff member with us. 

Junior Hannah Mathai, who is competing in the Integrated Marketing Campaign, said she is looking forward to competing but especially the opportunity to visit other places in Atlanta.

“This is my second year in DECA, so I’m excited to be able to compete at the international level,” Mathai said. “I’m also super excited to be able to visit other places in Atlanta and spend time bonding with other [Hebron] DECA members.”

While last year DECA had around 65 members, this year they have more than 150. DECA Sponsor Sherry Gowarty said she was excited to have more people this year, and looks forward to DECA’s continued success. 

“Our club has grown over 100% this year,” Gowarty said. “We’re excited so many people have joined and are competing this year, as well as our growth and potential for more success in the coming years.”