Last week on February 9th and 10th, students in BHS DECA attended the annual Career Development Conference (CDC), also commonly known as States. For those who aren’t familiar with DECA, it is essentially a business club that builds leadership skills through competition-based learning. For more information about what students do in DECA, feel free to check out this article.
Although many DECA students were excited to return to competing in person after last year’s virtual conference, this year’s event was still drastically different in comparison to the pre-pandemic era. Instead of the usual trip that spans two days and two nights, this year’s conference was only a one-day trip on Thursday with an optional overnight stay on Wednesday. A typical DECA CDC consists of an opening ceremony with a keynote speaker and entertainment Wednesday night, competition all day on Thursday, and a rewards ceremony Friday morning. This year, only three chapters stayed overnight on Wednesday night, which consisted of teamwork and leadership activities. Competition lasted all day on Thursday, and all chapters left Thursday afternoon. Another major difference this year is that there was no in-person rewards ceremony. Instead, the results will be presented in a video format that will be released this upcoming Thursday, February 17.
In addition to the changes in formatting, there were significantly fewer chapters and members that attended States. In 2020, the most recent in-person competition, BHS brought about 70 members to CDC, in comparison to only 43 students last week. Despite this notable reduction in attendance, the qualifications for the international conference (ICDC) remain consistent with previous years. Since the top three individuals or teams in each event move on to ICDC, there is a large chance that the majority of BHS students will have the opportunity to attend in late April. In addition, many NH chapters are not allowing their students to go to ICDC due to COVID-19, and these restrictions will open up many alternate spots for fourth or fifth-place participants.
All BHS DECA students hope that an in-person international conference will run this April, which will be in Atlanta, Georgia. Let’s cross our fingers!