My #DECAICDC Reflection: The Journey of a Lifetime

Hailey Burns | Rio Rancho DECA

This past April, I was able to take the most incredible journey to Anaheim, Calif., to attend the 2017 DECA International Career Development Conference.

While my trip was filled with amazing experiences and memories, here are a few of the top moments that stood out to me at #DECAICDC.


DECA is an amazing community that has the power to bring together members and chapters.

Here at Rio Rancho High School, our biggest rival is our cross-town school, Cleveland High School. At every competitive event we are fierce enemies, but when we were at ICDC, we weren’t Rio Rancho and Cleveland, we were New Mexico DECA and more than that, we were DECA.

One of my favorite parts of the trip was walking through places like Disneyland and talking with everyone who was wearing a DECA shirt, or shouting, “DECA” together. It was the most amazing experience ever to witness the DECA spirit flowing through the air.


As amazing as everything else was at #DECAICDC, I definitely learned the most from the actual competition. I understood it was hard to make finals, but I didn’t quite understand exactly how hard it was going to be.

I both learned that it’s not as scary as it seems and even though we worked really hard, we need to work even harder next year. I know that with this knowledge, we’ll make it much further into the competition in Atlanta next year!

Hard Work

Finally, I learned that hard work truly pays off. Not only did I get the experience of being able to go to ICDC, but we went to a bunch of other great places as well, which helped me and my prospective team for next year grow a lot in a non-educational setting.

Next year, I plan on at least tripling the amount of work I put into our project to hopefully make it to #DECAICDC once again. I plan on having a project fit for finals, and even if it doesn’t make it, it’ll be good enough that I will be proud of it and the work I put into it.

DECA has greatly impacted my life. No matter how many times I compete, each time is a once in a lifetime experience. Every advancement and every step, whether forward or backward, is still a representation of how our hard work paid off. I wouldn’t trade my experience in DECA for anything in the world.

This article was written by Rio Rancho DECA member, Hailey Burns. You can follow Rio Rancho DECA on Twitter @riorancho_deca.