By Patterson Federal Credit Union
“Just wanted to let you know that I had a ‘big girl’ interview at Dillard’s this morning and because of FBLA I knew how to dress for the interview. Several people commented on how professional I looked,” Morgan Daniel, Arkadelphia High School graduate and former FBLA member, said in a text to her former advisor earlier this week.
Ashley Wesley, an AHS teacher, just recently received her award for 15 years of service as an FBLA advisor. She estimates that it has probably been a program at the high school for 30 years or more. According to Wesley, years ago it was typical to take one or two members to the state competition whereas this year 26 of the 40 members qualified to compete at the state level.
According to their website, FBLA is the high school division of Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda, Inc. FBLA helps high school students prepare for careers in business through academic competitions, leadership development, and educational programs. By the end of their FBLA experience, it is the goal that every member will:
- Develop an understanding of what it means to lead
- Understand fundamental business principles and how business impacts all sectors
- Demonstrate the ability to use technical skills to solve problems
- Create a post-graduation career plan
Blaise Batson, a junior, has been involved since middle school. Batson competes in pageants and initially got involved to improve her ability to present herself, interview, and speak publicly. Batson has earned first place in Intro to Public Speaking and Public Speaking at the district level and has been awarded three business achievement awards at the state level. Of her experience in FBLA she says, “I enjoy public speaking in this program because it is rewarding to build a speech from the ground up and then perform it. FBLA has also improved my writing and interpersonal skills.”
“I have definitely gained more social skills in FBLA. In eighth grade they put us in breakout groups so I had to talk to new people and I made more friends. My interviewing skills have also improved because you are always responding to the judges,” Kirstin Hall, a junior, says of her experience in FBLA. Hall has also been involved since middle school and has competed in proofreading and website design. Her team won first place at the district level this year.
Asia Joseph, a senior, has been involved in accounting, website design, and intro to parliamentary procedures since joining FBLA in eighth grade. Joseph has always been interested in business and aspires to be an entrepreneur and manage many businesses in the future. She is headed to North Carolina A&T next year to pursue a business degree. “I have learned more skills that are a part of the business world such as how to interact with others and manage finances,” said Joseph of her experience in FBLA.
Gray Manning, a junior, has focused his time in FBLA on accounting. “Math comes naturally to me so accounting has, too. I know accounting is what I want to do in the future and FBLA has shown me that I am good enough at it,” Manning shared when asked what he had learned in FBLA. Manning earned fourth place in the state in Accounting and has qualified to go on to the national level competition.
As a follow up, Morgan Daniel was hired for a position at Dillard’s that is at an even higher level than what she interviewed for. What she learned in FBLA is paying off in her big girl world.