Highlights From #DECAICDC Opening Session

Suhas Yalamarti | Northampton DECA

When we think of ICDC some words that come to mind include: life-changing, inspiring, exciting, innovative, spectacular, chaotic (in a good way, of course), and surreal. The 2018 Atlanta ICDC Opening Sessions epitomized all of these descriptions. DECA had the privilege of being the first private group to utilize the state-of-the-art Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Saturday’s event brought over 19,000 DECA members and an additional 2,000 DECA stakeholders to the stadium, which will be home to 2019 Super Bowl.

The festivities kicked off with a brief introduction from two of the @tlanta Live Social Media Team members, Gabriella Delliponti and Siddhant Chaurasia.  “We have over 20,000 different voices from all over the world. And that’s what makes DECA so great!” explained Siddhant. Soon after, this statement came to life with the parade of flags. Emerging leaders proudly carried flags from their home country, representing the 10 countries from which competitors traveled for this year’s ICDC in Atlanta. DECA members from Canada, China, Germany, Honduras, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Spain and the United States make up the almost 20,000 ICDC attendees.

Following a truly stunning hoop dance performance and the recognition of Life Membership Award recipient, Mr. Jim Brock, national recording artist and the Voice Season 11 runner-up Billy Gilman took to the stage to sing his most recent single titled “Good Life”. Billy Gillman and DECA also partnered with the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) to recognize the chapters that raised the most money for MDA. Coming out at the top was Grayson County DECA in Kentucky. With great dedication, they raised a whopping $13,337 for MDA.  “You raised one big voice for these young kids and adults with these horrible insidious neuromuscular diseases I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart,” said Gilman alongside DECA’s MDA Ambassador, Jessica Hetzel.


The final piece that made the night truly limitless was the keynote speech by world-renowned fashion designer, Mr Joseph Abboud. From his inspirational talking points, DECA members learned about the ins and outs of perseverance and self-motivation. Mr. Abboud shared his unique journey that ultimately led him to where he is today, specifically chronicling one monument experience working for Chanel in Paris. Artfully connecting these situations to a more relatable theme for high schoolers, Joseph Abboud’s keynote certainly encompassed DECA’s core values. As the grand finale act took the stage (where a talented performer balanced on a human-held rope and executed flawless strikes), it was clear that this year’s Opening Sessions sent a very clear message: ICDC is all about assisting you in finding your niche, whatever that may be.

Follow DECA Inc. on Twitter @DECAInc. Keep up-to-date with all things ICDC on DECA Direct and the DECA ICDC App. On social media, follow the @tlanta Live Social Media Team and #DECAICDC.

This article was written by @tlantaLive Social Media Team Member, Suhas Yalamarti. You can follow Suhas on Twitter @syalamarti.

Categories: Conference Highlights, deca.org, High School, Live Updates, Reviews