Cassidy McCrabb and Jordan Kim at DECA Nationals

DECA sent five seniors to DECA nationals in Nashville who competed April 22-27.

Nick Samuelson and Tiason Eason competed in the business law and ethics team series event and placed fifth at SCDC (state career development conference). Zack Armstrong competed in the SBE event (student-based enterprises food operations).

Cassidy McCrabb and Jordan Kim competed in the travel and tourism series event and placed seventh at SCDC.

Over 12,000 students competed in the ICDC with a total of almost 18,000 competitors, academy students, advisers and chaperones attending.

McCrabb and Kim had to take a 100 question multiple-choice test for the first part of their competition. The second part of the competition included the role-play. They had 30 minutes to read, analyze and come up with a creative solution to a business issue or need. They then presented their solution to the judge. Approximately 100 teams competed in this event the top 20 teams made it to the semifinals. Kim and McCrabb one of the top 20 teams.

Puyallup’s business marketing and accounting teacher Kimberly Root took the group to Nashville.

“This is my second year attending ICDC. With 12,000 students competing it was an honor just to make it to Nashville. It was so exciting to be in the Bridgestone Arena with all those people and hear the announcer call Jordan Kim and Cassidy McCrabb from Washington State to the stage. I was so proud,” Root said.

McCrabb says she felt nervous going into the competition.

“The competition side was very nerve-racking as we felt like underdogs because this was our first time at nationals, some people had been there three or four times. We could tell these people from all over the world were very talented. Some were researching and practicing for the competition during all times of the day so of course we felt a little over our heads. The competition itself was stressful because we knew that we were competing against the best people in the world. Little did we realize we were one of the best in the world,” McCrabb said.

McCrabb said she was confidant in her and Kim after the role-play.

“We walked out of the competition relieved but unsure how it went just because we are competing against 200 or more teams. As far as my personal experience I was freaking out that we even made it to nationals because I thought 60 teams was a lot to compete against in state so 200 seemed impossible. I knew it was not our best competition so I really was not expecting to be a national finalist. Getting called on stage was an unexplainable feeling. I was surprised and so proud of us,” McCrabb said.

Kim reflects on their success after going into nationals for their first time.

“[McCrabb and I] have been partners since the beginning of sophomore year so we work really well together now which I think really helped us at nationals. Initially we were placed in fights of 20 teams and the top two from each flight made it to finals. We really were not expecting anything because we had never made it to nationals and had no idea what to expect. Getting called up on stage was a big shock for us. We just had the goal of that we were going to try our best but also enjoy ourselves and not stress out about anything. I think not stressing out over it really helped to stay calm and think clearly,” Kim said.

McCrabb tells us about her trip to Nashville away from the competition.

“We had a lot of downtime when we were not doing DECA-related things. I actually got to see and do a lot in Nashville and it was so much fun. I got to do in the Escape Game for the first time which was one of my favorite things. I also got to go to the Grand Ole Opry House, it was great to get a taste of country music. It was so fun getting to know a new city and overall the experience was one I would not trade for the world,” McCrabb said.

Kim also sheds light on the downtime during the competition.

“My favorite part of the conference was just all the free time we had to spend with both the people from PHS and others from all over the country. There were so many DECA kids that when we just walked the streets of Nashville we always saw people from the conference. Our hotel was all kids from Washington and Alaska, so the nights were fun spending time meeting new people that were still from home. It was one of the best experiences I have had in all of high school and I am so glad I went,” Kim said.

Kim said she thought the DECA conference did a good job coordinating the competition.

“I think the fact that DECA is a business-minded organization made the conference so much more fun than a lot of other school events. They made sure the experience was enjoyable in all aspects, from the gift bags to the concert performers to the exhibition halls,” Kim said.