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Scappoose students qualify for national FBLA conference

Five juniors and seniors will travel to Atlanta to compete


SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: NICOLE THILL - Mark Morud, Victor Nieves-Garcia, Beau Groom, Nathaniel Nguyen and James Brady will represent the Scappoose Future Business Leaders of America chapter during the national competition in June. The boys will spend four days competing against 11,000 other students.Five students from Scappoose High School will travel to Atlanta in late-June to compete against 11,000 students from across the country at the National Leadership Conference hosted by the Future Business Leaders of America.

Juniors Beau Groom, Victor Nieves-Garcia and James Brady, along with seniors Nathaniel Nguyen and Mark Morud, will represent the Scappoose FBLA chapter.

The FBLA is a national organization designed to teach students business practices, college and career preparation techniques, and business communication and networking skills. The organization offers middle school, high school and college-level organization opportunities.

Students must perform well in regional competition and state events to qualify for the national conference. During the state competition, Groom and Nieves-Garcia earned a first-place award for banking and financial systems; Brady and Nguyen earned a third-place award for management information systems; and Morud took first place for digital video production.

Students often compete in different categories based on their personal interests as well as their own ability to compete in a particular category, the competitors explained. Groom, Nieves-Garcia and Nguyen all work at a local credit union, which has a small student-branch at the high school.

Groom and Nieves-Garcia said they were able to use their knowledge from real-life experiences during the finance-based competition.

The national stage is not new for the Scappoose FBLA, explained Ryan Poster, the business teacher at Scappoose High School and the FBLA advisor. Four of the five students from this cohort have competed at the national level previously and students from the club have qualified for nationals for the last five years, Poster said.

Last year, Morud finished fourth nationally for desktop publishing.

Despite the previous experience, the students are still looking forward to this year’s conference.

Nieves-Garcia, who has only been in FBLA for one year, said he is excited to attend the competition for the first time.

“I think I’ve just heard so many cool things about meeting new people, it’s like part-business, but it’s also a fun experience, so I’m just looking forward to meeting people and kind of competing,” he said.

Meeting other students, making friends from across the country and experiencing a new city are additional benefits to competing at the national level, the other students said. Poster added that traveling outside of Oregon is good for the students.

“We’re from a small town,” Poster said. “They don’t get to travel. You know, they’ve been to Washington and California, but not to Atlanta and some of the bigger cities. It’s kind of cool to live vicariously through them.”

To compete in certain categories, students must first take a digital written test to earn qualifying scores in a certain topic. If they qualify, participants move on to an improvisational role-playing stage of competition, where students have 20 minutes to prepare a presentation demonstrating skills in a specific area. With more than 68 categories of competition, participants must have specialized skillsets and various problem solving techniques.

The Scappoose FBLA has 34 members this year who meet twice per month. While the group will not hold any more meetings this school year, the students traveling will continue to fundraise to pay for the cost of the trip. The group has partnered with local businesses to hold Mother’s Day fundraisers and will also host events on their own to raise the money.

Morud, who has approached local businesses to fundraise, said he is appreciative of the community support.

“I went to some businesses and I was excited to see that some of them came together to help fund our trip, which is exciting that they saw value in helping the future business leaders of the county,” Morud said.

Students in the group say participating in FBLA teaches skills that will prepare them for future careers in any field, not just business. Projects and activities also teach skills in public speaking, goal-setting, interpersonal skills and problem solving.