CKHS DECA Meets the Sunshine State

Three DECA students had the opportunity to go to Florida for ICDC.

Annika Pexton, Khazzi Villanueva, and Ferrah Capas smiling in front of the DECA Banner in Orlando, Florida. (courtesy of Khazzi Villanueva)

Annika Pexton, Khazzi Villanueva, and Ferrah Capas smiling in front of the DECA Banner in Orlando, Florida. (courtesy of Khazzi Villanueva)

by Grace Vanderley, Reporter

At the end of April, three students at CKHS who are part of the Association of Marketing Students, commonly known as DECA, gained the opportunity to travel to Orlando, Florida to participate in the International Career Development Conference (ICDC)

DECA is an organization offered here at Central Kitsap High School that promotes and prepares individuals for careers in the business field. This could include marketing, finance, hospitality, and management. 

Every year, DECA hosts the International Career Development Conference known as ICDC. More than 20,000 individuals attend from all over the world. This year Annika Pexton, Khazzi Villanueva, and Ferrah Capas were a part of that number.

The DECA Banner inside the OC Convention Center hangs high for everyone to see. (courtesy of Khazzi Villanueva)

“ICDC is basically nationals for DECA and you go and compete,” said Villanueva. “There are a bunch of workshops, contests, and competitions.”

Typically students earn a spot at ICDC by placing in their events at the state competition. This wasn’t the case for Capas and Villanueva but they had their own special achievements that qualified them.

Villanueva earned her spot to travel to Orlando because of all the work she had done for the DECA program at CKHS as chapter President. 

Capas claimed a ticket to the Sunshine state because of her position as a state officer for DECA. She currently serves as the Area 7 President. 

“I was a voting delegate to vote for the executive officers at ICDC,” said Capas. 

Pexton was originally not supposed to compete since she earned 10th at the state competition and the top nine go but one was unable to go so she took their spot. 

“I was in the Business Finance series, which is two roleplays where you are given a situation where you have 10 minutes to find a solution and present it to a judge and a written test,” said Pexton. 

In Orlando, Pexton competed in this event and noted she didn’t place as well as she wished to but she still had fun with it and all the other activities. 

Pexton’s favorite activity and experience was Universal night where Universal Studios opened the park to only DECA students.

Khazzi Villanueva, Annika Pexton, and Ferrah Capas smiling in front of the Castle at Magic Kingdom in Disney World. (courtesy of Khazzi Villanueva)

“It was a really good experience to bond with Khazzi,” said Pexton. 

Villanueva spoke of her favorite experience being pin trading with other DECA students. 

“There were people from Nova Scotia, China, Puerto Rico and it was really cool being able to meet other people through pin trading because it is a way to network yourself and form connections,” said Villanueva. 

Villanueva also spoke highly of her opportunity to experience Aspire Academy. It is a three day retreat from 9a.m. – 5p.m. with a bunch of other seniors where they learned applicable skills to take to college and beyond.

“It was a lot about business jargon and techniques that you use if you’re working in the business world,” said Villanueva. 

Capas noted that her favorite part of the five day trip to Florida was meeting all the state officers during the voting and Disney World. 

“Universal was fun at first but then it started pouring down rain but Disney World was great,” explained Capas.

Ferrah Capas and Annika Pexton posing in front of the Galactic Gateway with Buzz Lightyear at Disney World. (courtesy of Khazzi Villanueva)

She was able to explore two of the four parks, Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios and enjoyed her time. 

While exploring the parks, competing in events, and attending different sessions, the three of the students and Kerri Ferate, the DECA advisor stayed in the Hyatt Regency which connects through a skybridge to the OC Convention Center. 

“There were about 20 hotels that were used to accommodate everyone,” said Pexton. 

Washington state was given its own hotel since it had so many people but other states and countries shared hotels. Each hotel connected to the Convention center where the events happened. 

All three students noted their time at ICDC in Orlando, Florida was very fun and a unique opportunity.