Nine Hillcrest High students to compete at FBLA nationals
May 08, 2018 10:34AM
● By Julie Slama
Hillcrest High's FBLA team will send nine students to nationals this summer. (Julie Slama/City Journals)
By Julie Slama | [email protected]
After school has let out for the summer, nine Hillcrest High students will board a plane for Baltimore to compete in a national competition.
“These students qualified for nationals and are now fine-tuning their materials and reviewing judges’ comments to make any last improvements to their presentations,” said new coach Rachel Eckley, who added that 20 students qualified for the national Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) conference, but because the competition takes place over the summer, June 28 through July 1 across the country, several students were unable to attend.
FBLA’s competitive events are designed to prepare students for business careers by providing opportunities to apply classroom concepts to simulated competitive events. Competitors can choose to compete in individual events or part of a team as well as a chapter team.
Eckley, who is the school’s third FBLA adviser in three years, said that the dedication of students has been tested and proven throughout the year.
The season began in October as 40 members of the team competed at the Herriman Invitational, followed by 50 teammates taking part in the Utah State Aggie Invitational.
In December, at the Metro Regional, 65 students competed, with each one of them qualifying for state. Even with seven students unable to attend state, Hillcrest competed in amongst 80 events over three days, being awarded third in outstanding chapter. Several students also won top awards that had cash prizes and 15 students were offered partial scholarships to Utah State University, Eckley said.
“It’s been an amazing year and definitely, student-led. They’ve done 99 percent of the work as they’ve taught me about FBLA. These students are preparing each other, with juniors and seniors coaching younger students and helping them understand what to do and how to compete,” she said. “They’re definitely improving their teamwork and communication skills.”
Learning leadership skills is one of the focuses of FBLA, the largest student business organization in the world. In addition to academic competitions, FBLA aims to help students learn vocational and career skills where they can create career portfolios and become confident as they learn more about the business world.
FBLA students also network with professionals in the community.
“These students are learning who is in their community and how to focus on how to make something happen after high school. They’re meeting actual professionals in the field who serve as judges and are able to talk after the competition and get advice in careers,” she said.
After the students’ compete in Maryland, they will come back to school in the fall to welcome new members at the fall rush.
“Next year, I’ll have a better understanding of FBLA and can help our new officers organize the year and develop their leadership skills,” she said.
FBLA national leadership conferences are scheduled for San Antonio in 2019 and Salt Lake City will host nationals in 2020.