DAYTON — Dayton High School isn’t as large as many other schools in Washington, but thanks to advisor Rob Moore, the school’s FBLA team continues to dominate regional and state competitions.
Future Business Leaders of America is a national organization that gives high school students a chance to practice real-world business skills by preparing for and competing in conferences.
Out of a student body of 160, Dayton‘s FBLA chapter boasts 30 members, 26 of whom competed in the Southeast Region Winter Leadership Conference in Kennewick this month.
Members of the chapter placed first in 16 separate events, including graphic design (Chelsey Martin), public speaking (Matthew Warren) and desktop publishing (Taylor Frame and Keelin Hovrud).
The group also had 10 second-place awards and 20 third-place awards, and competed in 30 of the approximately 45 events at regionals.
Students in the group attribute their success to Moore’s dedication to the group, as well as his knowledge of chapter members’ strengths.
“He’s really good at picking out kids’ strong suits and placing them in events they’re going to do good at,” said sophomore Caitlyn Robins, who placed first in three individual events at the regional competiton.
To prepare for conferences, FBLA members have classes with Moore that focus on teaching business skills and also allow students to prepare for conference events.
Right now, students in Moore’s Business Communication class are busy with a variety of projects, including a community service effort that has raised almost $1,200 for the Make-a-Wish foundation to date.
Students say their involvement in FBLA has given them confidence and job skills that have helped them in school.
“You learn a lot of real-life skills even if you’re not going to start a business,” said sophomore Keelin Hovrud, who has gained job interview skills through her involvement in FBLA.
Robins mentioned the FBLA’s focus on public speaking had been helpful to her.
“It’s a skill you’re going to have to use throughout your entire life, so it’s good to develop it,” she said.
With regionals behind them, chapter members are setting their sights on the state conference on April 25-27 in Spokane. Moore said the state conference gives students a chance to travel and get to know people outside of Dayton.
“Because we have such a small population of students, I believe it’s positive for these people to go out and develop a larger peer group,” he said.
Twenty-two students will attend this year, and several also serve as statewide officers. Senior Malia Frame serves as the state parlimentarian and is responsible for ensuring that FBLA events follow proper parlimentary procedure. Robins is running to replace Frame in this position at the state conference.
Chapter member Grant Heinrich also serves as the Southeastern regional vice president. Sophomore Taylor Frame, who is Malia’s cousin, is running unopposed to hold that position for the coming year.
Members hope a strong performance at state will earn them the right to advance to nationals in Anaheim.
“I got to go to nationals when I was a sophomore, but I didn’t place, so I’d like to go back,” said Malia Frame.
Other chapter members are excited about the possibility of attending for the first time.
“I remember when I was younger, I heard older kids talking about going to nationals and I wanted to be like the cool older kids,” said Malia Frame.
If Dayton’s FBLA performs well at state, she may get her wish.
Rachel Alexander can be reached at email@example.com or 526-8363.