Over 200 MSD 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. Photo courtesy of MSD DECA

Ivy Lam, Senior Feature Editor

For the 2021-2022 school year, MSD’s DECA program has approximately 250 qualifiers for the state competition. Held in Orlando, the students will join other DECA members from across the state to compete in their respective categories.

At the 62nd Annual Florida DECA Career Development Conference, the competitors present their presentations and roleplays, which are scenarios provided that require a student to improvise their response in front of a judge, at the event. The conference will take place from March 3-6.

“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,” Executive Vice President Jordyn Klein said.

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

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

“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,” Director of Alumni Isabella Ortega said.

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 6 scorers of each category will advance to the international level.

“This year I competed in the Business Finance Category, which consists of testing and a roleplay,” Chief Financial Officer LJ Russinoff said. “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 on 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 4-day trip weeks in advance. Moreover, the officer team offered Manual Monday’s, Testing Tuesday’s, and Roleplay Nights to enable members to practice questions and improvisation.

“First, [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 will also enjoy a day at Universal and a meal at Benihana, a sushi and Japanese steakhouse.

“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,” Ortega said.

Considering the in-person aspect and the 5 buses of MSD DECA participants, the upcoming state competition will be memorable for many. The students will leave in the morning of Thursday, March 3 and will return Sunday, March 6.