Washington Evening Journal
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Fairfield FBLA students participate in showcase
FAIRFIELD — Fairfield High School’s chapter of Future Business Leaders of America participated in its annual FBLA Showcase Monday night at the Fairfield Middle School.
The showcase is an opportunity for FBLA members to practice their presentations and tests before they head to the Iowa FBLA competition March 30 through April 1 in Coralville. The students rehearse in front of local judges, who have been selected by the Friends of Student Business Leaders because of their relevant knowledge and skills in the competition category.
The co-chairs of this year’s showcase were Kate Van Pelt and Diane Goudy, the longtime FBLA adviser at FHS. Goudy said there were 43 judges and volunteers at the showcase, usually with two judges for each presentation. The judges were instructed to provide feedback to the students by asking them questions about their topic and getting them to think of the best way to present their ideas. However, the judges are careful not to make specific content suggestions, because the students are responsible for every aspect of their presentation and cannot receive help from adults or other students.
“We had a brainstorming session for possible judges, and Kate and I sent out emails to these people,” Goudy said. “We’re so proud of the community that they welcomed us with open arms, because they’re taking time out of their evening. Sometimes the judges don’t even know any of the kids.”
Goudy said that Monday’s lineup of judges included people who work as financial brokers, human resource managers, a lawyer, a speech instructor, a journalist, a few bank presidents and managers, marketing representatives, insurance agents and more.
“It was cool to see how many judges were former FHS business students,” Goudy said. “One of them is with Edward Jones now, and another is a hospital administrator. It’s fun to see how they turn out.”
Goudy said she’s excited to see FBLA grow in southeast Iowa. Pekin started an FBLA program last school year, and this will be the first year Pekin students will compete at state.
Deborah Matthews is the FBLA adviser at FHS, and said the club has 42 members from all four grades. She said not every member of FBLA wishes to participate in the state contest because of schedule conflicts, and thus not all of them performed at showcase. Thirty-one FHS students participated in the showcase.
“FBLA is an awesome way to prepare students for leadership roles in their future careers,” Matthews said. “It helps kids mature, and I think they have a leg up on all the other kids. FBLA students are training to be bosses, because after high school, you’re going to work for someone who was in FBLA.”
Matthews said FBLA hones a student’s public speaking skills, tests their ability to conduct research, and familiarizes students with concepts such as marketing, personal finance and even computer coding.
The state FBLA contest will be held at the Coralville Hyatt Regency, and although the award ceremony will be open to the public, the actual contest will not be. Students who place in the top four at state can go onto the national competition, which will be June 27-30 in Atlanta, Georgia.
“We take at least some kids to nationals every year,” Matthews said. “Last year we took 11, and we’ve taken as many as 20.”
Call Andy Hallman at 641-575-0135 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org