Over 200 Marjory Stoneman Douglas DECA Students Compete at the State Level in Orlando
Juniors Morgan Fink, Madisyn Fierstat, Alex Segelnick, and Dana Masri attend the district award ceremony to know whether they qualified to compete at the state level.

By Ivy Lam

For the 2021-2022 school year, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s DECA program had approximately 250 qualifiers for the state competition. Held in Orlando, the students joined other DECA members from across the state to compete in their respective categories.

At the 62nd Annual Florida DECA Career Development Conference, the competitors presented their presentations and roleplays, which are scenarios provided that require a student to improvise their response in front of a judge at the event. 

“I was so excited when I qualified for states. I had worked so hard on my 20-page paper with my friends, in which we donated over 650 items to Hogar del Niño, a school in the Dominican Republic,” said Jordyn Klein, executive vice president.

Winners at the district level were determined by their test scores, papers, and/or presentations (which they presented at Nova Southeastern University). Those who scored the highest, the top 16 in their category, advanced to the state level.

Last year, the state competition was held virtually. However, the event returned to its original in-person version at the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista, last weekend.

“I’m excited that DECA states are in person since we actually get an experience. When it was online, it didn’t really feel real,” said Isabella Ortega, director of alumni.

The International Career Development Conference, commonly known as ICDC, is the highest level of competition to be held in Atlanta, Georgia, from April 23-26. In Florida, the top six scorers of each category advance to the international level.

“This year, I competed in the Business Finance category, which consists of testing and a roleplay,” said LJ Russinoff, Chief Financial Officer. “I was ecstatic when I found out that I made it to states and got another chance to make it to ICDC.”

Russinoff has made it to ICDC for two years in a row, and he looks forward to making it a third time this year as a junior. In preparation, he completed several practice tests to test his knowledge of the finance sector and practiced roleplays to expand his knowledge and awareness of the content.

The MSD DECA advisors–Lisa Webster, Sharon Cutler, Mitchell Albert, and Dean Broadbent–prepared the four-day trip weeks in advance. Moreover, the officer team offered Manual Monday’s, Testing Tuesdays, and Roleplay Nights to enable members to practice questions and improvisation.

“First, [me and my partners Annesha Nookala and Angelina Kennedy] wrote a 20-page paper for districts. Once we found out we qualified, we worked on creating a PowerPoint and posters to present to the judges,” Klein said.

The 200+ competitors enjoyed a day at Universal and a meal at Benihana.

Ortega, said, “I’m excited that DECA states are in person since we actually get an experience. When it was online, it didn’t really feel real.” 

We will publish an update of the results soon.

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Author Profile

Ivy Lam
Ivy Lam
Ivy Lam is a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. This school year, she is a member of multiple honor societies and an executive officer for HOSA and Newspaper. Her favorite pastimes include reading, writing, and volunteering.

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