Moffat County students build professional skills, business acumen as FBLA qualifies for state
Whether training for the specifics of a career field or just gaining the basic interpersonal skills to navigate the business world, the students of Moffat County High School’s FBLA chapter are learning more and more each day.
MCHS’s Future Business Leaders of America took multiple wins during the FBLA district competition this week in Grand Junction with first place in seven events as part of 12 total state qualifiers.
With 16 MCHS students overall and 21 awards among them, the competition tested pupils in real-world applications across business categories as well as testing their knowledge.
First-place wins included Josh Gumber in Spreadsheet Applications, MaKala Herndon in Accounting, Jacob Jeffcoat in Networking Concepts, Joey Gates in Business Communications, Jada Krieger in Business Law, Evan Allen in Intro to Financial Math, and Marlyn Arellano in Graphic Design.
The top three competitors in each category move on to the state level in April in Denver, with Cody Eckhoff placing second in Cyber Security, Lauren Hilley in Impromptu Speaking, and AJ Calara in Public Speaking.
Third place went to Sabastian Hershiser in Help Desk and Tauren Farquharson in Public Speaking.
Though each student can only attend state in one event, Gumber, Jeffcoat, Hershiser, Hilley, Eckhoff and Allen all each placed second or third in dual events.
Jeffcoat tested in Networking Concepts for his win, though he put his skills to work in the Computer Game and Simulation event, where he took second.
“I made a 2-D side-scroller about the FBLA business awards,” he said.
Jeffcoat, an MCHS junior, said that while game design is interesting, he’s more attuned to other aspects of computer coding.
“I’ve had a lot of classes at the middle school and here,” he said.
Other events are strictly about numbers. The Spreadsheet category tasks participants with handling myriad data, which ultimately involves finding a way to focus, Gumber said.
“You try to find a quiet place, and there’s lots of good online resources, too, for different formulas,” Gumber said.
FBLA adviser Krista Schenck said that while basic skills with programs like Excel are something anyone can learn, she’s amazed by Gumber’s proficiency in the software.
“It’s a whole different level at this competition,” she said.
The FBLA chapter — which pairs with Moffat County’s DECA program — saw the majority of senior students make it to state, in which Schenck takes great pride.
“A lot of them have kept the same events, so it’s been a lot of fun watching them grow,” she said.
She added that many of the computer programs students utilize are ones they use for other tasks for the program and around the school with great effect.
“They’re fast and they’re talented, and it’s really going to be hard to see this group leave, because they are the go-to group,” she said.
It’s the variety of skills he’s picked up in the past four years that have been a big difference, Gumber said.
“I don’t think I want to go into business, but regardless of what you want to do, the things you do with critical thinking and how to conduct yourself in a professional setting all come through with FBLA and DECA,” he said.
Arellano has likewise been involved in the program for her whole high school tenure.
Her win in Graphic Design involved creating a project for promotion of a music artist.
“I have to design something virtual, so I create it on PhotoShop and illustrate it. A lot of people use things like Google SketchUp, but it’s kind of up to you what you use,” she said. “You create whatever you want on the computer and put everything together in a presentation trying to sell your project.”
Many of Arellano’s artistic works currently hang in the MCHS computer room, though it’s a different sort of creative of endeavor she hopes to pursue.
“I want to do interior design, and I think graphic design will play a huge part in that,” she said. “That’s why this is important for me and why I was so excited to win, to get some hands-on experience.”
She added that strengthening her communication and preparation skills and sense of responsibility are also part of the learning process.
“It definitely helps everyone that does it,” she said.