Maximizing Their Momentum: DECA Heading To ICDC


Courtesy Briana Eifler

After the competition, the group gets ready for the mini awards ceremony.

This past weekend, DECA attended the Virginia State Leadership Conference, the annual conference in which students learn, present, and compete in business based projects. At this conference, students competed for the coveted spots to attend ICDC- the International Career Developement Conference. This year, the Dominion Chapter sent 20 students to the state competition; 11 of which are moving on to ICDC. 

“Oh my gosh, we did so well. Eight [of our competitors] are moving on in their competitions, and then three who are not moving on in their competitions from SLC are going to represent Titans Corner and be competing in school based enterprise (SBE),” Briana Eifler said. 

The eight Dominion students competing all placed in their respective categories, as Mallika Bhat, Anna Jones (sister of reporter Caelan Jones), and Ella Wolok placed second for creating and implementing the IDASH Project at Dominion. “For students, we put on [mental health] week, and there were activities, videos, and resources that [students] could use. For the competition part, it was focused on the management side of the project— how we anticipated problems and how we ensured that there would be a high quality result from our project,” Anna Jones (Caelan’s sister) said.   

Mia Paparello and Elina Mehta placed 6th in the Sports and Entertainment Operations Research Project, where they analyzed consumer satisfaction at the local Sterling Gold’s Gym, now a OneLife fitness facility. “Through our paper and presentation, we proposed different ways to increase the satisfaction. When we placed, I was really excited because I can’t wait to perfect our project even more for the presentations at ICDC,” Mia Paparello said

ICDC is taking place from April 22-27 in Atlanta, Georgia, where students are encouraged to “Maximize their Momentum”— the theme for the year. “I’m really just happy that I’m able to go to the competition because last year with COVID, ICDC was online so it was completely different. So I’m just really grateful to actually be going in person and competing for IDASH,” Ella Wolok said. 

Over 19,000 students, advisors, business professionals, and alumni gather to participate in the conference. “[I am really excited to see] the students take what they’ve learned in class and apply it to real life situations. And, they get to network at ICDC, which is really great. I’m still friends with people that I met at ICDC in high school,” Eifler said.  

“I’m really excited to make a lot of memories with my people on my team and also my friends who are competing. I’m also really excited to meet other competitors from other states because it would be so cool to make relationships with other people from other sides of the country and in the world,” Jones said.

While in Atlanta, students will not only be competing against students from around the world, but they will also create fun experiences at the Georgia Aquarium, World of CocaCola, a concert, as well as an Atlanta Braves game. “I’m really excited to go to the aquarium and see all the different stuff with my friends to take off the stress after the long competition days,” Paparello said. 

“Our [competitors] have all set individual goals for their competitions, whether it be making it through the first round or placing overall, and it will be the chapter’s and schools job to support them to achieve those goals,” Eifler said. 

The eight competitors moving on in their competition are Mia Paparello and Elina Mehta competing in Sports and Entertainment Operations Research (6th); Anna Jones, Mallika Bhat, and Ella Wolok competing in Community Awareness Project (2nd); Pavan Ananthakrishnan, competing in Financial Consulting (3rd); and Riley Albanese and Callie Stravinski competing in a Buying and Merchandising TDM (7th). The students competing in  SBE are Camryn Tilley, Srikar Kunapuli, and Ayra Nirar.