FBLA Nationals: BV, GF students advance to San Antonio
By Kelby Newcomb
Berryville and Green Forest high schools both had two students qualify for the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) National Leadership Conference in San Antonio this June.
Freshman Kirklyn Powell and senior Amber Veach both placed high at the State Leadership Conference in April, earning spots at the national competition.
Powell said he competed in Sales Presentation and won third place at state.
“I had to sell them an item, so I was selling them the tile tracker,” he said. “It’s a little square you can put on anywhere, and it tracks pretty much anything. I have one on my keys and wallet, and there’s an app on your phone where you can find it anywhere.”
Veach said she competed in Help Desk, which includes an objective test and an interactive role-play scenario based on customer service in the technical field. She said she won second place in her division.
“I was surprised and excited when I heard,” she said. “It’s not a competition I typically do. I thought I would try my best at it this year and got second place. I was super excited. It was something I wasn’t expecting but something I was very excited to get.”
Powell said he did not expect to place since this is his first year in FBLA.
“I honestly didn’t think I would make it,” he said. “I was surprised when they called my name. There were three groups that made it as finalists, and I thought since I’m a freshman and they were seniors that they would make it.”
To prepare for state, he said FBLA adviser Amanda Trammell had the students come in after school and work on the products they would be presenting.
“After we piled up all the research, we had to turn it into a sales presentation,” he said, “and actually present it in front of the judges, which were just two of the high school teachers.”
During the state competition, he said the judges ask questions about the product, and the presenters have to be prepared to “overrule” any possible issues.
“One of theirs was ‘What if the government is tracking you with the tile trackers?’ ” Powell said. “It was kind of random, and I wasn’t expecting it. When they said that, I was like ‘I don’t know,’ which kind of hurt me, I think.”
He said he is going to be prepared for all of the judges’ questions at the national competition.
“I should have said you have to allow your location like on Facebook, SnapChat and all your other apps,” Powell said. “I wish I had more constructive criticism, but overall I think the comments were a big help.”
Veach said she plans to study terminology more for the Help Desk division.
“My highest marks were on the personal relations, so I did really well on that,” she said. “I got dress-coded because I wore short boots instead of heels, so I won’t do that again.”
They said they are excited to travel to San Antonio for the competition.
“I always love to travel,” Veach said. “Berryville is such a small town. As much as I appreciate that, I like to witness other places.”
“Getting to go outside Arkansas and make a name for Berryville is exciting,” Powell said.
Green Forest senior Caleb Marroquin placed first in his division at state, and junior Kendall DeMeyer will be attending FBLA nationals for the second year in a row.
Marroquin said he won first place in Agribusiness.
“It felt really good,” he said. “That’s the first time I’ve ever placed high enough at state to go to nationals. I honestly didn’t even expect to place in the top four, much less get first. I was pretty proud because I had actually tried really hard and studied a lot to get it. I felt like my hard work had finally paid off.”
DeMeyer said she won third place in Accounting I.
“I took a test online. It’s pretty awesome to qualify,” she said. “Last year, someone had dropped out of my event, so I got to compete at nationals last year, too. Getting to do it again is super exciting.”
Marroquin said he wants to find more test materials to go over before the national competition.
“A lot of it was knowing vocabulary terms,” he said, “so I’ve got to get better at knowing tax words and language.”
DeMeyer said she will read over her accounting textbook again, take more practice tests and have FBLA adviser Marilyn Bonham tutor her some more to prepare for the next stage of the competition.
The students said they are excited to meet new people at nationals.
“Getting to meet people from all over the nation will be cool,” Marroquin said. “There are people from all of our territories and even people from China and other countries.”
“I like meeting all the new people,” DeMeyer said. “It’s so fun. You meet people from China, the Virgin Islands and all over. It’s crazy.”