Three dozen students qualify for DECA International Conference


Emily Smoller

BP DECA at Magic Kingdom during their trip to Orlando for the International Conference.

BP DECA enjoyed their time in the sun during the 2023 International Conference in Orlando, Fl!

On April 21, 40 BP DECA students left the rainy Pittsburgh area and made their way to sunny Orlando to participate in the biggest DECA event of the year, ICDC!

Two months earlier, 102 BP DECA students competed in the State Conference at Hershey, Pa to try and advance to the International Conference.

From the competition, 36 BP DECA students qualified for the International Conference, two more students qualified for leadership, and two more came for presidential duties.

They had two freshmen, five sophomores, and seven juniors attend the conference this year.

26 seniors attended ICDC this year.

“This has been an amazing group of students that persevered, and stuck with DECA, through the COVID years,” said Mrs. Smoller. “I am really going to miss all of them next year!”

Five chaperones also attended the conference. Mrs. Smoller, the BP DECA Advisor, Mrs. Christenson, Mrs. Firek, Mr. Short, and Mr. Lape.

“The other chaperones and I could not have been more impressed with this group of students!” said Mrs. Smoller. “They represented Bethel Park High School extremely well! This is the most motivated, respectful, kind and fun group we have had the honor to work with.”

This year was one of the biggest groups ICDC has ever had with over 22,000 members participating.

Members included chapters from all 50 states, Canada, Puerto Rico, Guam and Germany!

Each competitive event had around 150-200 teams competing.

Out of the 40 students who participated, only one team of three became finalists!

The team of Mitchell Gramm, Andrew Kvak, and Jack Kohnfelder made it to the finals, the top 15, for their project in the Sports & Entertainment Marketing Operations Research event.

“This is a wonderful achievement as only 12 project teams from PA made the finals and they are only the 7th project team I have had make the finals,” said Mrs. Smoller. “Many of our other groups were extremely close to making the finals, finishing in the top 80th or 90th percentiles.”

During their first day in Orlando, BP DECA spent their afternoon at Magic Kingdom in Disney World! They were there for seven hours.

After they returned to their hotel, they got dressed in their professional attire for a PA DECA meeting with all of the Pennsylvania DECA chapters.

PA DECA had 550 participants, their largest delegation ever!

After, they made their way to the Orange County Convention Center where the Grand Opening Ceremony took place.

On Sunday, all competitors with non-test projects presented their projects to a judge. This was at various times throughout the day.

After their presentation, students were allowed to spend the rest of their day down by the pool at their hotel.

The next day, all students with papers with tests presented their presentations in front of a judge.

Everyone else had the afternoon to themselves.

That night, all of DECA went to Universal where they shut the whole park down only for DECA members.

On Tuesday morning, the Mini Awards Ceremony was held to announce the finalists for each event.

After the ceremony, all finalists went to present their project in front of a judge again.

All other BP DECA students went to Disney Springs for a few hours for a shopping trip.

Then, at 8:30 that night, the Grand Awards Ceremony was held where the people who placed 1st-3rd in each event were announced winners.

The next day, BP DECA headed to the airport to come back home to Pittsburgh.

“ICDC was such a fantastic experience,” said 2024 PA DECA Vice President Lexi Dorfner. “Getting to network with people from different associations and compete is so cool and something that you really can’t experience anywhere else. It’s really hard to describe ICDC due to how amazing it is because it will never sound as awesome as it was.”

“We are always looking for new members!” Mrs. Smoller said. “If you are interested in participating in DECA next year, be sure to sign-up for a Marketing class next year!”