Not many students can say they’ve been to an international competition for any of their clubs at school. Even less can say that they’ve placed at that competition. Both of those scenarios are a reality for FHS DECA Vice President Grace Maloney. On April 27, FHS DECA traveled to Orlando for the International Career Development Conference (ICDC) which is the highest level of competition for DECA members. This was not Maloney’s first time advancing to ICDC but this year was a unique experience.
“I have been to ICDC three times now,” Maloney said. “Since I competed last year, I felt more experienced going into the competition because I knew what to expect.”
Maloney competed in an event called Business Growth Plan, in which she wrote and presented a proposal that analyzed the business operations of the start-up company she co-founded. Her business, Grow Greenly, was created along with some of her fellow students at the Academy of Engineering and Technology (AET).
In order to prepare for the competition, Maloney reviewed the comments and scores that she was given by the judges at the state competition in March.
“Since ICDC is so competitive, it is important to maximize your score as much as possible,” Maloney said. “I modified my presentation and added some newer events that Grow Greenly had done. I also memorized my opening pitch that pulls in the judges.”
After competing on Monday, Maloney waited anxiously for the preliminary awards ceremony on Tuesday morning. Those who placed on Tuesday, including Maloney, moved onto the final round of competition, and then the top 10 from the final round placed at the Grand Awards ceremony later that night.
“When I had to compete at Finals, I was really nervous because I realized how close I was to possibly getting top 10, or even top three, which is really hard to do!” Maloney said.
After what felt like a strong presentation to Maloney that afternoon, she joined her fellow DECA members at Disney for a few hours before heading back to awards. At Grand Awards, Maloney found out that she had placed top 10 in her event out of nearly 150 people. Being able to walk on stage at ICDC and receive her award was one of her favorite parts of the whole competition.
“My project, Grow Greenly, has been a year in the making,” Maloney said. “I’ve dedicated so much time towards the business to make sure it is a success and getting top ten at ICDC just validates all of my efforts.”
Maloney now joins the very short list of FHS DECA competitors who have earned the highest honor, by being able to compete, place, and walk across the stage to receive an award at ICDC.