There I sat, in the dimly lit hallway at the district competition with my purse, a list of performance indicators, and my favorite black pen. My partner was sitting next to me tweeting something on her phone.
A woman walked out of the gym in a black cardigan and pencil skirt and called out, “Anyone for 10:45?”
My partner and I got up as fast as we could in our professional attire and heels. I hobbled over and said, “We were supposed to go an hour ago…”
The lady hurried us into the gym, pointed to a table, and told us to start. “Alright, let’s go!” I said to my partner. We looked at each other and knew we had this. And so my journey to internationals Anaheim, California began.
At Districts the event my partner and I participated in was called “hospitality and tourism.” We received a case study in which we had to come up with an effective way to advertise a 5 star hotel through social media. We had 30 minutes to prepare and 15 minutes to present. We placed third. For my first time ever doing a DECA competition I was more than thrilled.
Next, was the State Competition. Not only did my partner and I have role-plays but we also had individual projects. I took on writing a ten page business plan of a business of my creation. I created a kayaking outfitter located in Key West, Florida. It was by far, the most strenuous project I have ever had to do. It required late nights and weeks to perfect. When it came time to present my project to the judge I was ready to go. I looked over my performance indicators one more time and took a deep breath.
The lady called out the name of my school. ” That was me. It was go time.
The presentation wasn’t flawless, there was the occasional “umm” or a spelling error, but I was proud of my performance. Proud that I made it this far. But I wanted more. I wanted that international competition in Anaheim.
When it came time for the awards I was fidgeting with my dress, looking around everywhere, crossing and uncrossing my legs. Finally, the words Entrepreneurship Participating flashed across the screen. This was it….
After the award ceremony was over I decided to stick around and see if maybe I would get bumped up from 7th place to 5th place. 5th place meant I would be going to internationals. I sat there with the other internationals finalists from my chapter for 10 minutes before I walked back to pack. Some of my best friends were now headed to California without me. 45 minutes later I was shoving myself and my two suitcases out the hotel room door and my chapter leader came up the stairs.
He said, “Molly, would you like to go to California? You got bumped to 5th place!” and my answer was a resounding “hell yes!”
After eight hours of traveling, myself and LAX. I couldn’t believe I was here. The following days included an opening ceremony with 17,000 other high school students from around the world, giving presentations, going to Disney, and getting told I have a funny accent. I did not place for my project and neither did anyone else from our chapter. I was proud of myself though, for making it as far as internationals. But I wanted more. And I said, “Next year. Next year Atlanta is mine.”