79 North Creek Students Advance to State FBLA Competitions

Rebekah Lindsay, News Editor

     79 North Creek students placed at Washington FBLA’s West-Central Regional Competition awards ceremony on February 19th. These students—including over 20 first-place winners—qualify for State competitions which begin April 5th.

     “FBLA, which stands for Future Business Leaders of America is a fantastic platform for students of any background to pursue their interests and passions in the business field alongside plenty of passionate and dedicated students,” said ninth-grader and first-year FBLA participant Tanya Bhandari. 

     Despite containing the word ‘Business,’ events are not limited to the namesake. “You would think that in FBLA there would just be business-themed events, but that’s not true. There are, for example, objective tests on cybersecurity and healthcare administration,” said ninth-grader Rishitha Ravi who completed these two objective tests, placing third in Cyber Security.

     Bhandari competed in two presentation events, placing first in Introduction to Social Media Strategy and sixth in Introduction to Business Presentation.

     In addition to presentations which involve heavily-researched slideshows, speeches, and videos, competing students have the opportunity to try a variety of events. “There are objective tests, which are simply tests on a variety of topics. There are presentation events, which are either individual or team. And there are role-plays which are kind of like improv,” said 12th grader and FBLA VP of Finances Pranali Bendale.  

     Typically, Regionals is a one-day event; however, this year competitors submitted video recordings of their presentations and took the objective tests via an online portal ahead of time. “The rubric was still the same—everything was pretty much the same. It’s just that we didn’t get to present live and we didn’t get to do it in person,” said Bendale, “Also, it was a good three weeks before we actually got our results.

     For returning members like Bendale, the virtual changes were small but significant, yet even new members like Bhandari enjoyed the experience despite the virtual environment. “I’d heard so much about FBLA from upperclassmen and I really wanted to join it. Albeit, this virtual setting wasn’t anything like I thought it would be, but it surpassed my expectations, especially for switching it to virtual settings,” said Bhandari.

      Currently, qualifying members are finalizing preparations for State. Bendale has three events to present at State, including Sales Presentation and Digital Video Production. “For Digital Video Production, my partner and I followed this year’s topic to tour our school and create a video promoting it to the community,” said Bendale. Additionally, she is working on a straight-to-state project for the Business Financial Plan event.

     Bhandari is using the time to fine-tune her presentations, “I did get feedback from the judges; I’m hoping to incorporate it into my video that I’m submitting for state,” said Bhandari.

     While Bhandari and Bendale can use the judges’ comments to adjust their work, prep for state looks different for students taking objective tests. 

     Ravi created studying schedules prioritizing difficult topics and overall practice exams for her two objective tests. “I found that some of the topics were deceptively simple and the other ones are deceptively difficult, so planning a cushion of time to study was probably my best strategy,” said Ravi.

     In addition to self-study and presentation creation, a virtual mentorship system supported students throughout the process. “This year we emphasized having mentors. So if anybody had any questions on events they’re doing this year, they could have the opportunity to ask people who did that event last year,” said Bendale.

     All current members of NCHS’s FBLA have placed at State and had at least one year of FBLA experience. 

     Ravi appreciated the club leaders’ willingness to answer questions. “The student board and the advisor are flexible and always open talking to you about your event,” said Ravi.

     Further, FBLA also hosted an online seminar series featuring a business-focused individual each week in March. “We’ve had two [people] come so far and three more coming to talk for an hour about their business and how they have grown their business,” said Bendale.

     The line-up stars three graduated professionals alongside two up-and-coming high schoolers, including North Creek’s own Shreshth Kharbanda.

     While these events are open to all North Creek students, FBLA members, in particular, enjoy hearing from those actively working in the fields they aspire to. “What’s amazing about inviting these speakers over is not only do they help us with succeeding in FBLA events, but it’s also preparing us for life after high school in college regardless of what career path I choose,” said Bhandari.