Four Bainbridge High School students placed among the top 10 in the national Future Business Leaders of America competitions.
Each competed in a different category against over 100 other students from around the country and world.
Nick Mooney placed fourth in Cyber Security, Campbell Hawk and Grace Burgin placed fifth in the Business Ethics team competition, and Charlie Hanacek placed eighth in Intro to Technology.
Seven others from Bainbridge High traveled to Anaheim, Calif. to compete in the national competition: Ronnie Nigash, Brendan Redmond, Will Cassella, Nick Barecca, Ben Warkentin, Conor Powell, and Rose Conlon.
“To get to this competition these students competed at regional and state levels,” said Kim Rose, the FBLA advisor at BHS. “They are the top 2 percent of FBLA students worldwide.”
The Bainbridge Island Chapter of FBLA has been very successful in recent years. They have placed in the top 10 in at least one event at the national level for the past six years, and they produced two national champions: Heather Noble for Marketing in 2006 and Tyler Blackwell for Digital Video Production in 2011.
At the state competition in Spokane this April, students participated in almost all of the 59 events from Impromptu Speaking to Sports Marketing. Each event employs a different form of competition. For example, students in Cyber Security must complete a 100-question multiple choice test in one hour; those competing in Business Ethics are given 20 minutes to create a seven-minute presentation on a prompt; and those in Game Design present a finished project which they have worked on throughout the school year. For the last category, Will Cassella and Brendan Redmond created their own video game from scratch.
BHS graduate Campbell Hawk was glad to go out with a bang.
“This was my second year qualifying for nationals, and I placed higher this year, which felt very good,” Hawk said.
“It was a little sad knowing I wouldn’t have a chance to go back next year,” she added.
Hawk first joined FBLA because she liked competitions, but not athletics. She quickly grew to enjoy other factors as well.
“I love the networking aspect,” Hawk said. “At state you get to meet people from all over the state who are interested in the same thing. At nationals, you get to meet people from all over the world, including China, Haiti, and the Cayman Islands.”
Though Hawk’s years in FBLA are over, she leaves behind a legacy in sophomore Charlie Hanacek, who was the only freshman in the club last year.
At the eighth-grade culture fair, Hanacek met Hawk at the FBLA booth, and she encouraged him to join.
“It was fun being the only freshman, but it was also kind of lonely, because there wasn’t anyone my age to hang out with,” Hanacek said.
Still, he stressed that through this experience, he has learned to be independent.
“In FBLA, you get to meet a lot of new people, and you become a more mature person, because they make it feel like you’re actually at work. You have to think for yourself more than you otherwise would,” he said.
Hanacek said that whether he becomes a business leader or not, FBLA has helped prepare him for his future.