Park City High School FBLA club is in the business of winning
Eli Levine had long thought about eventually pursuing business for a career, but he was also interested in art and engineering. A sophomore at Park City High School, he knew he had plenty of time to ponder what path he’d take.
But then something interesting happened. He joined the school’s Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) club, and soon after, his decision was made.
"I’ve always had business in the back of my mind," he said. "But when I did FBLA for the first time, seeing the kids and all of the stuff that can come from going into a business career, it was such a big hook for me. It was like, ‘This is definitely what I want to do with the rest of my life.’"
Levine is not alone among Park City students enamored with FBLA, a national organization that attempts to mold students into business leaders. The school’s club began five years ago and is flourishing.
At the recent state FBLA competition, the club qualified for 19 spots at the national competition set for June and July in Atlanta. Danny Fisher, a technology coach at PCHS and the club’s adviser, said that number is comparable to that produced by some of the largest schools in the state.
It marks steady progression for the club, which nabbed 10 spots at nationals last year.
"I think it’s a legacy of building each year," Fisher said. " We saw great gains last year, and we’ve had exponential growth this year."
Micaela Berglund is another student who is passionate about FBLA. She finished first in the job interview category at the state competition and said the club is special because the diversity of the students it attracts.
"FBLA is a very different kind of club," she said. "Lots of clubs, like sports, are all centered around one thing. Here, within business, there’s so much to do. I’m a science student, but I still want to compete, and there are others who want to go into business. It’s a more diverse community than any other club."
For McCauley Finnegan, who developed a first place-winning business plan at the state competition, FBLA is valuable because it’s like stepping into the professional world.
"You get out of being a teenager and saying ‘like’ all the time," she said. "You’re set into something that’s more mature, and it’s really cool to watch yourself transform into that. You find the more grown-up version of yourself."
Kirsten Lanigan, who finished second on hospitality management, added that joining allows participants to forge bonds with likeminded students.
"It helps to bring together a lot of people who have very targeted interests," she said. "Joining FBLA usually means that you care about school and how you do and that you’re motivated. You get to meet those kind of people."
To Fisher, seeing students excited about FBLA — and watching them succeed on a statewide and national scale — is gratifying.
"I love it because it gives them somewhere to practice these skills," he said. "It’s neat to see the students grow. It’s not just FBLA that’s helping those skills — the whole school does it. But this club helps refine it and take the skills from good to great."
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