by Taylor Massey
Two Republic members of Future Business Leaders of America will compete at nationals in June, and two others brought home state medals from their competition in Springfield in April. Tanna Fulks and Hayden Hradek were Republic’s top finishers headed to national competition. Lauren Bissey and Lauren Chastain both earned state medals but fell short of qualifying for nationals.
The state FBLA conference took place at the Springfield Expo Center. Students from all across the state came to share information from their respective events, meaning the competition did not look the same for any two students. There are a plethora of events with precise guidelines. For example, some events are done individually, while others are done in groups. Some events also include public speaking and presentations, while others are done with the completion of an exam.
For some participants, their competition actually took place before attending the conference in April. Students who are in events where they must take an exam or complete a report, known as objective-only events, were able to do so at their own high school. The top 12 performed at the State Leadership Conference in person.
This was the case for Lauren Chastain, who participates in Business Plan. She first prepared the component of her event that was to be prejudged. Afterward, she was able to attend the conference and actually present her plan as a finalist in her event. Chastain ended up placing tenth.
“What I enjoyed the most about the competition was the awards ceremony in the JQH Arena. I was a finalist in my event, so I got to go up on the stage and hear my name announced,” said Chastain.
Hradek competed in Introduction to Business Presentation. This event is designed specifically for freshmen and sophomores. Hradek, who already competed in DECA nationals and qualified for a national speech and debate tournament, placed third and qualified for the FBLA National Leadership Conference in Chicago.
“I enjoyed the competition greatly. But, one of the coolest parts of it all was meeting new people . . . When preparing this presentation, I was able to interview a couple of high-level businesspeople from around the Midwest who took an interest in me. That has allowed me to network with these people and create a stronger presentation,” said Hradek.
Chastain and Hradek both said that FBLA is an organization that truly has something to offer for everyone.
“To students debating on joining FBLA, it is an organization that allows you to be innovative and the events are very flexible. If you are a good test taker, there are events for you. If you are good at presenting, there are events for you as well. Republic FBLA is also filled with great leaders and peers,” said Chastain.
Fulks, who placed second in the state in Advertising, will be joining Hradek in Chicago for the national competition from June 29 to July 2.