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The Two Women of DECA: Seniors Avery Daniel and Brittany Ballou

%28left+to+right%29+junior+Gregory+Phea%2C+seniors+Sagar+Kansara%2C+Avery+Daniel%2C+Brittany+Ballou.+Holding+up+the+DECA+sign%2C+DECA+are+dressed+up+before+the+award+ceremony.
(left to right) junior Gregory Phea, seniors Sagar Kansara, Avery Daniel, Brittany Ballou. Holding up the DECA sign, DECA are dressed up before the award ceremony.

(left to right) junior Gregory Phea, seniors Sagar Kansara, Avery Daniel, Brittany Ballou. Holding up the DECA sign, DECA are dressed up before the award ceremony.

Courtesy of senior Avery Daniel

Courtesy of senior Avery Daniel

(left to right) junior Gregory Phea, seniors Sagar Kansara, Avery Daniel, Brittany Ballou. Holding up the DECA sign, DECA are dressed up before the award ceremony.

Anjali Sundaram, Reporter

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Slipping the cool glass between their fingers, DECA VP of competition, senior Avery Daniel, and DECA president, senior Brittany Ballou, have been competing in DECA since sophomore year, hoping for the chance to make it to ICDC, and this year they did.

ICDC is the international competition DECA hosts for top participants from each state and category. This year the competition was held in Anaheim, California on April 26-29. Students left on the 25, missing a week of school to participate in the event. Though two other students, junior Greg Phea and senior Sagar Kasara, also advanced to internationals, Daniel and Ballou have been trying to make it to ICDC for the past three years.

“I joined DECA because I thought that I could be interested in business, and I was right,” Ballou said. “It was honestly the best choice I have ever made and impacted my high school career the most.”

Though Ballou started being engaged in DECA right away, it took a little more pushing from Daniel.

“My DECA journey started in the ninth grade when I wasn’t too sure if this club was for me,” Daniel said. “I wasn’t really interested in business, so I didn’t compete, but I participated in group activates and community service. Tenth grade year, I returned and that’s when I met Brittany in a meeting and we randomly decided to partner up. Ever since then DECA has been a top priority of mine.”

Daniel has grown with the organization and credits most of her progress to Ballou.

“DECA as an organization has made me more independent and more social.” Daniel said. “It has given me the opportunity to serve as VP of competition. I have made a lasting friendship with Brittany because of this organization. She always pushes me to step out of my comfort zone and has helped make me a better speaker.”

Along with Ballou, mentor and student organizational sponsor Kimberly Stapleton has also been a large part of the journey for Daniel.

“DECA has also provided me with an amazing mentor, Mrs. Stapleton, who has always been there even when I needed help with anything,” Daniel said. “Mrs. Stapleton has always encouraged and supported me. I am incredibly thankful for this organization and the people I share it with.”

The actual competition encompassed writing an 11 page paper, creating a presentation, and taking a test. Because they were competing in Fashion Merchandising promo plan, Ballou and Daniel create a campaign around a business like Ulta.

“Brittany works there so she already knew a lot about the company,” Daniel said. “However, we both share a love for makeup and beauty products in general so we decided to focus on what we love.”

Though Daniel and Ballou placed during state, they fell a bit short when it came to ICDC, though that was not a surprise to Ballou.

“[I wasn’t disappointed at all],” Ballou said. “To go to finals, you have to be one of the two top teams out of 18 in your section, so the odds are low. I was happy to have made it there honestly.”

Despite not placing, the chance to compete was what mattered, according to Ballou.

“It was such an amazing experience,” Ballou said. “It was so cool to be around so many people who love doing what I love. I got to meet people from all over the world too, which was cool. It was definitely what I wanted it to be. There was a good balance of “work and play” as we got to go to Disneyland and Universal and presented some of the days.”

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The Two Women of DECA: Seniors Avery Daniel and Brittany Ballou