Students at Mountain View High School took home eight medals from the Future Business Leaders of America State Leadership Conference on April 26. While winning first place in categories such as computer game programming, digital photography and e-business are major successes, the students have a new challenge ahead of them: The national leadership conference in San Antonio this summer.
Mountain View’s FBLA team comprises 22 students, 14 of whom qualified for nationals. The State Leadership Conference took place at the Westin La Paloma Resort in Tucson and saw over 1,800 FBLA members and advisors competing to show their business skills.
“FBLA has a lot to offer students of all different persuasions,” said Ellen Kemp, robotics and engineering instructor and FBLA advisor at Mountain View High School. “It teaches students a lot of business and technology skills, but it also shows them how to work with other students and present their ideas.”
The state conference, which ran from April 24 to 26, was themed “Build Your Brand” and focused on students forming business concepts and pitching their ideas to judges with real-world experience. At the conference, the students also have the opportunity to share their experience with their peers and learn how to shape their future career through workshops and exhibits.
“Not only do they have to prepare their projects, but they have to deliver a presentation to judges,” Kemp said. “I would not have normally thought they’d all work together as a team, but they really put all their skills together.”
The FBLA season runs through the school year, with students beginning to work on their projects in the fall. In January and February, Mountain View students competed with their counterparts from Nogales and Benson in regional competitions. They then moved onto the state conference, refining their projects every step of the way.
Kemp, who has served as Mountain View’s FBLA advisor for a decade, said the program isn’t just for business majors. Participating students at Mountain View include every high school grade level, and those old enough to be looking at graduation are interested in areas as diverse as computer science, chemical engineering, game design and digital photography.
“Some of the students start out very shy,” Kemp said. “But it encourages them to become leaders in whatever their career choices. Business skills apply everywhere.”
The MVHS students presented business concepts for an online business including a working webpage, and a digital photography company with professional-grade pictures. According to Kemp, the pictures were so well made, a school counsellor who was the subject of one of the portraits even requested a copy of her photo to display on her desk.
The award-winning students are: Noah Wilson, Samuel Croll and Matthew Mares-Camarena, who won first place in “Computer Game and Simulation Programming,” Bella Palmiero and Heather Harline who won first place in “Digital Photography – Commercial Photo Portfolio,” Max Robles, Christian Mireles and Jayden Clark who won first place in “E-Business,” and Ryan Hunt and Hailey Tellez who won third place for “Publication Design.” The entire Mountain View team also won fifth place for its chapter sign.
The FBLA National Leadership Conference runs from June 27 to July 2 in San Antonio. While Kemp has had students participate in nationals before, they’ve never placed in the top 10 of the conference. But she feels confident for her students this year.
“Some of these kids have never been out of Arizona before, so it’s very exciting,” Kemp said. “FBLA gives them confidence to go for whatever they want to do.”