Along with 700 odd students representing Ontario at the 2015 International Career Development Conference (ICDC), three Garneau students left Toronto for Orlando from Toronto Pearson International Airport on 23 April. The three students were Meagan Wan in Grade 9, Sherrie Cheng and Yiqun Zhang, both in Grade 11. Last year, only one Garneau student qualified for the international competition.

ICDC is the international and final round of DECA, a business competition. It begins in the fall with the regional competition, continues through the winter with the provincial competition and concludes in the spring with ICDC. The top six competitors at the provincial competition move on to ICDC. Over 16000 students, teachers, alumni and judges from all over the world were present at ICDC.

Students compete in various competitions that can include role plays, written business plans, and virual challenges. Depending on the competition, they can compete either individually or in teams.


Students spent a week in Orlando, competing against the world’s top aspiring business people. Photo courtesy of Sherrie Cheng.

Though the students left on 23 April, the Opening Ceremony did not begin until Saturday evening, on 25 April. During this time, students trained for the competition with other competitors from Ontario as well as teachers and DECA alumni. On Monday, the exams for the competitive events began, and on Tuesday, students began presenting to judges in the preliminaries for their events. During preliminaries, students do not compete against all 200 other competitors in their event. Instead, they are put into flights, each containing anywhere from 16 to 20 other competitors. Everyone in the same flight is judged by the same judge, or in some cases, judges. The top two competitors overall in each flight then go on to compete against each other in the finals. Marks from exams are kept while presentation and oral marks are discarded. The new marks obtained during the finals then determine the competitors’ final ranking.

Meagan Wan competed in the Principles of Marketing Event, which, in Ontario, is restricted to Grade 9s. Internationally, it is open to all grades. Sherrie Cheng competed in Apparel and Accessories Marketing and Yiqun Zhang competed in Retail Merchandising Series.


Yiqun Zhang performed well in his marketing exam and qualified for the finals. Photo courtesy of Yiqun Zhang.

Zhang placed in the top 10 in the marketing exam in his event and went on to compete in the finals on Tuesday. He spoke about his experiences. “I am proud to have qualified for the DECA finals, especially since I did not expect to get past provincials. I appreciate the effort that the DECA executives and Ms. Mexis, the chapter advisor, have put into running the club. Participating in DECA was definitely worthwhile. I learned a lot, really enjoyed competing, and met many new people at ICDC”

“ICDC was definitely an experience that I’ll never forget,” said Meagan Wan. From the opening ceremony and its tradition of pin trading between states and counties, to meeting students from all over Ontario, the U.S. and the world, ICDC is an experience beyond the competition alone.

Next year, ICDC will be held in Nashville, Tennessee. Hopefully students from Garneau will be representing Ontario and Canada there as well.