DECA reflecting on successful season with cancellation of internationals


Photo courtesy Andrea Pirtle

Coppell High School DECA state winners and finalists pose with their trophies and medals outside the Fort Worth Convention Center on Feb. 22. Sixteen students from CHS advanced to internationals, which was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trisha Atluri, Staff Writer/Photographer

Out of the 160 members in the Coppell High School and CHS9 chapters of DECA, 16 qualified for internationals. However, internationals was canceled this year due to the coronavirus.

The International Career Development Conference (ICDC) is where internationals are held each year. This year, the conference was scheduled for April 29-May 2 in Nashville. With approximately 15,000 high school students in attendance from more than 20 countries, ICDC hosts qualifiers from throughout the world.

“ICDC is the end goal for pretty much everyone,” DECA board co-vice president senior Shradha Panatpur said. “In all the preparation you’re doing for both district and state, you’re more focused on trying to prepare for ICDC.”

Of the 16 qualified members, 12 are seniors, which means attending the International Career Development Conference (ICDC) is an opportunity they will never have again. 

“I’ve already been looking forward to it for a couple years now, just hoping we would make it,” DECA board president senior Rushil Nakkana said. “Finally, in my senior year, we did, and our one opportunity to go didn’t happen.”

DECA sponsor Andrea Pirtle received a special invitation from a recording producer in Nashville to bring her students to the studio. However, the cancellation of ICDC means this will not happen.

“I was disappointed for the students, because they had worked so hard and they’re missing this opportunity,” Pirtle said. “They had put a lot of effort into it, even before we got to districts.”

For some experienced members, such as DECA board co-vice president senior Shivan Golechha, attending ICDC would have been a repeat experience. 

“I advanced to internationals for the first time last year,” Golechha said. “Just hearing my name called on the stage– it was an amazing experience. DECA internationals was one of the best times of my life.”

Despite the collective reaction of disappointment from DECA members, they are understanding of the cancellation and grateful for their success in the season.

“In hindsight, the experience was still amazing regardless of whether or not we got to attend ICDC,” Panatpur said. 

This year, the majority of CHS DECA members are sophomores, which makes the chapter’s success even more impressive. Even though students compete individually or in small groups, experienced members often offer advice, bringing the chapter closer together.

“The veterans helped the newbies get ready for competition,” Pirtle said. “Their experience helped the others learn how to do well.

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