Return to Headlines

WBHS DECA Students Awarded at International Competition

Thirty-three West Bloomfield High School (WBHS) DECA students recently traveled to Orlando, Florida to attend the annual DECA International Career Development Conference (ICDC). Eleven of the delegates earned Top 20 recognition. Award highlights from the conference include:

  • Sam Hughes, Sverre Sears and Cole Hall earned third place in the Virtual Business Sports Challenge among 48,000 students from around the world.
  • Kyler Hwa and Tejas Kode placed seventh in the Virtual Business Fashion Challenge among the same number of competitors.
  • Jay Rubin, Brian Synowiec and Lara Mathias placed among the top 20 in their Creative Marketing Project researching Toyology owned by WBHS DECA Alumni Aric and Jonathan Klar.
  • The Sports Virtual Business Team of Paul Gagnon, Alec Vincent and Brad Simtob placed tenth.

Every year, DECA students from all over the world gather at the ICDC to compete in one of DECA’s performance-based competitive events. The top competitors in each event are recognized for their outstanding achievements, and many are awarded with continuing education, scholarship and cash rewards. WBHS students work year-round to compete at this level.

This year’s conference brought over 20,000 top high school student performers and advisors from all 50 United States, the District of Columbia, Canada, China, Germany, Guam, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Spain to compete in 36 different events. DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management.

On Saturday, WBHS DECA members arrived in Orlando at the Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace hotel. Later that day the conference started with the Grand Opening Ceremony that featured a performance by Blue Man Group and keynote speaker Ben Nemtin, the creator, executive producer and cast member of the MTV series, “The Buried Life.”

On Sunday morning students gathered into their respective categories for a competition briefing. At this briefing, each competitor was issued a presentation time slot. Upon completion, students had time to practice their presentations or simulations before heading to Disney World that evening. Students then competed on Monday followed by DECA Night at Universal Studios.

The conference concluded with a chapter dinner at Benihana and a grand awards ceremony on Tuesday night where students were recognized for outstanding performance in online testing, written research reports, oral presentations and virtual business online simulation.

We are very proud to acknowledge the ICDC qualifiers and winners (listed below) along with their competition categories. Qualified participants included:

  • Yasmin Bangura, (12), Sports and Entertainment Operation Research
  • Max Barash, (11), Entrepreneurship Promotion Project
  • Lyndsey Bruce, (11), Business Operations Research
  • Sam Carlin, (11), Entrepreneurship Promotion Project
  • Aaryan Chandna, (9), Principles of Business Management
  • Zachary Crawford, (12), Community Service Project
  • Paul Gagnon, (12), Virtual Business Challenge Sports
  • Cole Hall, (11), Virtual Business Challenge Sports
  • Samuel Hughes, (11), Virtual Business Challenge Sports
  • Kyler Hwa, (11), Virtual Business Challenge Fashion
  • Unser Jaffry, (11), Business Growth Plan
  • Tejas Kode, (11), Virtual Business Challenge Fashion
  • Abhi Kumar, (12), Hospitality and Tourism Professional Selling
  • Bhargavi Kurakula, (12), Sports and Entertainment Operations Research
  • Lara Mathias, (11), Creative Marketing Project
  • Isaac Mintz, (11), Retail Merchandising Series Event
  • Jacob Nafso, (11), Business Operations Research
  • Shannon Osborne, (12), International Business Plan
  • Nina Perry, (12), Sports and Entertainment Marketing Operations Research
  • Jay Rubin, (12), Creative Marketing Project
  • Abby Schell, (12), Community Service Project
  • Ilana Schwartz, (11), Integrated Marketing Campaign Event
  • Sverre Sears, (11), Virtual Business Challenge Sports
  • Sahith Shankar, (10), Hotel and Lodging Management Series Event
  • Isabella Sheena, (12), Sports and Entertainment Operations Research
  • Marisa Silver, (11), Integrated Marketing Campaign Event
  • Bradley Simtob, (12), Virtual Business Challenge Sports
  • Brian Synowiec, (11), Creative Marketing Project
  • Sarah Tomkovicz, (12), Community Service Project
  • Ayushi Uppal, (11), Entrepreneurship Promotion Project
  • Alec Vincent, (12), Virtual Business Challenge Sports
  • Taylor Zrepskey, (11), Business Operations Research Event

International Winners:

  • Cole Hall (11), Samuel Hughes (11), Sverre Sears (11) – 3rd Place – Virtual Business Challenge Sports
  • Kyler Hwa (11), Tejas Kode (11) - 7th Place - Virtual Business Challenge Fashion
  • Jay Rubin (12), Brian Synowiec (11), Lara Mathias (12) – Top 20 – Creative Marketing Project
  • Alec Vincent (12), Paul Gagnon (12), Brad Simtob (12) - Top 10- Virtual Business Challenge Sports
  • Zachary Crawford (12) - Marriott International Scholarship

Isaac Mintz, WBHS junior said, "These are the experiences that will shape my future. These are the skills that will help me succeed. Thank you WBHS for giving me this opportunity!”

Kyler Hwa, WBHS junior said, "Even if you don't make it on stage, your bound to meet so many people and make so many connections that are invaluable to your future."

​Julie Zalla, WBHS marketing teacher and DECA advisor said, "We have over two-hundred students in our program who work with us throughout the year, and many for up to four years.  To see them recognized as one of the top marketing students in the world is indescribable. One can't imagine the amount of time and commitment it takes to achieve at this level, and I could not be more proud of each of our students. The relationships created in this program between the fellow students, the organization, the community and businesses are priceless.  The ability to work with our students inside the classroom, after school and travel with them to competitions allows us to create a unique bond that does not end upon graduation. We continue to follow the success of, ‘our kids’.”

Jacqueline Evola​, WBHS marketing teacher and DECA advisor said, "We prepare our students inside the building, while the real learning happens when they take that knowledge and demonstrate it to the judges and their peers at the International Conference.  We love seeing them achieve."

Zachary Crawford, WBHS senior said, “Thank you Marriott International for assisting me in furthering my education! Words cannot fully express how grateful I am for this scholarship.” - ​

Samuel Hughes, WBHS junior said, "ICDC was so much fun. I can’t wait for next year."