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Millcreek Journal

Skyline High’s business club dominates at FBLA regional competition

Mar 30, 2023 03:47PM ● By Lizzie Walje

A mere three years ago, the business club at Skyline High School was virtually non-existent. Alex Pham, the club’s current public relations officer, said the club’s decline was a casualty of both the Covid-19 pandemic and a general lack of awareness of its existence amongst the student body. Needless to say, the prognosis for the club’s survival looked bleak. Fast forward a few years, and not only has the business club exploded in membership, but that same club was awarded the first place overall school award at the FBLA regional competition. 

The Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) is the largest business, career and technical student organization in the world. According to their website, each year the FBLA helps prepare over 230,000 student members for careers in business. As a part of their organization the FBLA holds a series of competitions throughout the year. Many competitions are held at the regional level.

This year’s regional FBLA event took place at the David Eccles School of Business on Dec. 9, 2022. The event hosts a series of different competitions highlighting business adjacent skills. Not only did Skyline take home the first place overall school award, but they also managed to dominate in a series of other competitions. “At FBLA Regions, Skyline High School received 92 top five awards in 45 different events,” Pham said. 

Today, Skyline’s once-ailing business club is now home to 70 members, and many of these individuals have gone on post-graduation to highly esteemed business schools. Many cited the club itself as instrumental in cultivating an interest in the world of business. Sophomore and business club member Jeffrey Zou mirrored this sentiment when discussing the benefits of having such a club available to students.

“Having the business club at Skyline has helped improve the overall culture. The club helps you find your passion in the world and helps you find your position in the world. Even despite all the teaching we have in school, we really don’t learn a lot of these skills as part of the common curriculum. FBLA and DECA really get you to the next level, especially the next level in the American workforce.” 

DECA, formerly known as Distributive Education Clubs of America, is like FBLA in the sense that they work to help emerging student business leaders. Many high schools have clubs dedicated either solely to FBLA or DECA, however, the Skyline business club competes in events run by both organizations. As per DECA’s mission statement, “DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe.”

 Both DECA and FBLA host events throughout the academic year, granting students the opportunity to take the skills they learn in their clubs and apply them to real-world business scenarios. For example, students can participate in mock job interviews, roleplay scenarios, presentations and general testing. Essentially, these events and their various competitions help prepare students for scenarios they will encounter post-graduation, especially those who are interested in pursuing a business-oriented career.

Sophomore and club member Anhkhoa Le discussed some of the major events that took place at FBLA regionals, before recalling those he participated in. “I did seven testing events, and then for in-person events, the main event I focused on was actually a pitch. I pitched why (Skyline) should get a fundraising opportunity to attend an event in New York City.” 

In addition to Le’s participation in the fundraising pitch, multiple students in the club partook in a multitude of events. “We had placers in all types of events, ranking highly. Those scores were what, then, factored into the overall top school award,” explained Pham. “Notably, we had two placers in a future business leader competition and in the job interview. Having four of our members place in those two categories really shows how much work we put into those two events.”

While the club was obviously excited to have their hard work pay off at the FBLA regionals, when asked about the club’s overall impact on their day-to-day lives, all three students spoke highly of how the club has helped them develop skills that aren’t often easy to come by in traditional high school curriculum. 

“One of the most influential and important skills that you learn, well, you learn how to communicate effectively. Even if it’s just talking to the person next to you. It’s about being able to effectively communicate, and it’s not often taught in a school’s major curriculum. There are many ways you can apply it,” Pham said. 

Le echoed the sentiments about how the club has helped develop his interpersonal skills before adding, “Another huge aspect that business club and FBLA teaches you, is how to have more confidence. It teaches you to keep moving and persevere. And it teaches you a lot of technical skills. At the competition, you can apply those skills. It also allows you to meet a lot of different peers who have the same skills as you, and it’s a great networking opportunity.”

As for what’s next? The business club will continue to be busy throughout the duration of the academic school year, participating next, at the group level, in a DECA event. However, many students will also take the initiative to participate in smaller events, giving them opportunities to compete in more individual settings. 

As for sophomore Zou’s future plans? There’s still much that’s up in the air, however, what he does know is how thrilled he was to see the club triumph, especially following some tough years when it nearly ceased to exist. 

“It felt really good to finally see Skyline win,” Zou said. “We nearly fell off completely and to then come back to become the best school in the region? It was a great feeling.”