On Friday, April 26th, 21 Minnetonka students flew out from the Minneapolis airport and arrived in Orlando, Florida. For the next few days, the students would compete at the DECA International Conference against thousands of other students from around the world.
After a relaxing night of pizza by the pool and another free day with dinner and opening ceremonies, Minnetonka students studied and prepared for testing and briefings on Sunday, which were long and incredibly hard. After the stressful testing was over, the rest of the day was well spent at Disney's Magic Kingdom, where students took their mind off of competition by going on rides, eating, and watching shows by night. The fourth day was the busiest, as students had presentations and roleplays that would constitute the majority of their final score. Donning business outfits and DECA blazers, everyone did last minute preparations before heading out to compete and present to a judge. In the afternoon, the students took the water ferry right to the Universal Citywalk to walk around, shop and have dinner. Universal Studios was a short walk away, where the whole park was completely closed off to DECA competitors only. There, students visited Diagon Alley in Harry Potter World, went on the rides, and bought souvenirs at the Universal Gift Shop to take their minds off of the stress of competition. Tuesday, April 30th was the second to last day in Orlando. The Minnetonka students woke bright and early to attend the Achievement Awards ceremony at 8:30 am, where finalists would be called up to the stage. These finalists would go on to compete in the second round of competition.
In a tense ceremony, just over half of the Minnetonka students were called up to the stage for their events and were eligible to compete in the final round. The finalists advancing to the final round were Claire Salmi, Frank Isaacson, Brooke Van Horne, Claire Johnson, Preston Chan, Jai Chadha, Maya Schrof, Hayes Richman, Remi Wollan, Annabel Cho, and Cam Anundson. Though the ceremony was shocking and disappointing for those who did not advance, everyone was supportive of one another and cheered each other on as the qualifiers immediately went out to compete again in finals.
Of the finalists, an impressive three Minnetonka students landed a trophy in their event: Remi Wollan and Hayes Richman, who won 3rd place in their Integrated Marketing Campaign event, and Claire Salmi, who got 2nd place in her Hospitality and Tourism Professional Selling event. With over 100,000 students competing, any student earning the glass trophy would be huge accomplishment, and Minnetonka ranked outstandingly well in the competition. With 23 international qualifiers, 11 international finalists, and three students placing top three in their event in the world, Minnetonka finished strong in the 2018-2019 year of DECA.
"I have learned so much this year in DECA, and I'm so grateful that I have had the opportunity to be a part of it this year," Peyton Crest, a sophomore, says as she reflects back upon her experiences of the club. "I am looking forward to learning new lifelong skills next year and meeting new people!"
Congratulations to all Minnetonka DECA competitors and advisors for their outstanding work and achievements this year!