Minds for Business: Local FBLA students advance to state competition
Business is looking bright for Carroll County’s future.
The Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) District VI Spring Conference was held on Friday, Jan. 19, at Arkansas State University in Mountain Home, and both Berryville and Green Forest high schools had several students score top marks in their divisions.
Berryville High School’s FBLA chapter took nearly 20 students to the district competition, and 18 of them qualified for the State Leadership Conference in Little Rock.
Seniors Marco Berrios and Abdieel Marts won first place in Banking and Financial Systems. Junior Sandy Carloman won second place in Advertising. Sophomore CJ Escobar won second place in Word Processing. Sophomore Bonnie Hausman won second place in Economics. Sophomore Karen Santisteban won second place in Spreadsheet Applications. Juniors Kayla Hand and Kymbreana Conard won third place in Graphic Design. Sophomore Jacqueline Diaz-Lopez won fourth place in Website Design. Senior Ariel Oriella won fourth place in Sports and Entertainment Management. Senior Jose Sanchez won fourth place in Business Law. Junior Sarah Withers won fourth place in Personal Finance. Freshman Ella McMellon won sixth place in Introduction to Business Communication. Junior Brandt Conklen won sixth place in Accounting I. Hannah Hurt qualified for state in Public Service Announcement. Senior Justin Mueller qualified for state in Healthcare Administration. Junior Becca Romine qualified for state in Public Speaking.
Sophomore Bailey Doss and junior Daniella Estrada also competed at the district conference.
FBLA adviser Amanda Trammell said it was exciting for the club to have so many students qualify for state.
“It was really exciting because last year we only had 16 members,” she said, “and this year we have 51 who are in our club. Of the 20 who went, we had over half of them place. It will be fun taking them to Little Rock for the state competition.”
Last year, she said about 10 students went to the state competition.
“We’ve almost doubled who’s going to state,” Trammell said. “I’m very proud of our students.”
Marts and Berrios said they were surprised to win first in Banking and Financial Systems, especially since their third team member, Miguel Perez, was unable to attend the district conference.
“We felt very much like an undergoing going into this,” Berrios said. “This is my first year in FBLA and going to district, and the entire time we were nervous. We had put in some hours of study, and other contestants said they had put in days and weeks. We were honestly intimidated.”
Marts said their division included both a test and a presentation in front of a panel of judges.
“It felt really nice to win first place,” he said. “As soon as we got out there, we were like ‘we’ve got to show them what we know.’ We really killed our presentation. When Mrs. Trammell came back and told us we got first, we were really stoked.”
“It was honestly one of the greatest experiences I’ve had in my academic career,” Berrios said. “At the end of the day, we decided ‘We came here to represent Berryville, so we’re going to try to keep a cool head and go over our lines and try to knock it out of the park.’ ”
Perez said he is proud of his teammates.
“This is my second year in FBLA. I competed in this category last year and place third with my partner,” he said. “The bummer was that I had the flu at the time, so I wasn’t able to go to district. But I took the test with them and helped them out with finding a study guide that I did last year, which did help me.”
The day of district, Perez said he texted Berrios and Marts to let them know what the presentation would be like and what kind of questions the judges would likely ask.
“I can’t compete with them because I didn’t go to district,” Perez said, “but they’re going to let me go and compete in another division that starts at the state level.”
Marts and Berrios said they will be reviewing banking and financial systems to prepare for the state competition.
“We’re going to study pretty hard for the tests and then prepare ourselves just like we did for our presentation,” Marts said. “We’re really excited for state.”
“We’ve very grateful for Mrs. Trammell for taking us, the school for funding our club and all the opportunities that it’s opened up and provided for us,” Berrios said. “It was an honor to place first and be able to represent our peers in Berryville High School.”
Carloman, Escobar and Hausman said Advertising, Word Processing and Economics divisions featured objective tests. They had an hour to answer 100 questions.
Carloman said she prepared by looking over practice tests and studying the definitions and situations associated with advertising.
“I’m going to do that again for state,” she said. “It was my first year at district, so it was a little strange getting second place. I really thought there were a lot of people there who were, of course, very able, so me placing was a surprise.”
Hausman said she prepared for the Economics division by taking an online crash course in the subject.
“It’s kind of made for college students or someone majoring in economics,” she said. “It’s really good because it’s in 30 different parts, and I could focus on the areas that I needed to.”
Hausman said she was excited to get second place at district.
“Going into the test, there were a lot of questions where I tried my best, but I didn’t know how well I was doing,” she said. “I’m really excited for state.”
Hand and Conard said they were thrilled to place third in the Graphic Design division.
“We make everything here and explain what we did to the judges at district,” Conard said. “It was really nice to get third place. Last year, we kind of opted in to state because we were fourth out of the four teams. So it felt good to actually place this year.”
“We’ll fix the things the judges said we did wrong and take it back to state and do the same thing again,” Hand said. “It felt really good to qualify.”
Green Forest High School’s FBLA chapter also swept the awards at district.
Madison Smalley won first place in Introduction to Public Speaking. Carter Boggs won first place in Economics. Tyeisha Poyner won third place in Introduction to Information Technology. Kendall DeMeyer won third place in Introduction to Business. Braden Smith won fifth place in Cyber Security. Antonio Flores and Gabriela Salazar placed fourth in Hospitality Management.
The second part of the interview with the Green Forest winners will be featured in an upcoming edition.