Sequim FBLA scores high at state

It’s called Future Business Leaders of America, but most of the students in the Sequim High School FBLA Club said they aren’t planning to have a future in business. Instead, they have career goals varying from medicine to politics — and said the lessons learned in the club will help in any field.

“FBLA teaches a lot about leadership,” said chapter vice-president Alisa Lee, 15. “It can help you prepare for a lot of different fields.”

The Sequim chapter members pitted their abilities against more than 2,000 students from about 200 high schools at the state Business Leadership Conference in Bellevue on April 10. They fared well — 10 awards were won by Sequim students. Two Sequim students, Olivia Boots, 16, and Gabe Lichten, 17, qualified for the national competition and several others may be eligible if higher-scoring teams drop out.

Brittany Nave and Monica Lopez, both 17, scored in the top 10 as a team for the Entrepreneurship category, although neither has a particular interest in business.

“We’ve never taken a business class before,” Nave said.

The duo, who had to tackle a written test with questions about corporations, franchises and business plans and then give a seven-minute presentation to a panel of judges, said the experience gave them a host of new skills.

“It helps with management,” Lopez said. “We got over our public speaking fears.”

The conference was particularly busy for senior Jake Larson, who serves as the state FBLA president.

“My emotional maturity and the communication skills and leadership skills I have learned are priceless,” said Larson, who said he logged in 20-hour days during the three days of the conference. “My last conference was bittersweet.”

FBLA advisor Jim Heintz, who along with fellow SHS teachers Stuart Marcy, Christy Ditlefsen and Charles Kleinberg, provides guidance to the group, said he enjoys seeing his students outside of the classroom.

“I enjoy seeing them in a different setting,” said Heintz, who teaches photography and the yearbook class. “It’s important for us teachers to get them out in the world, outside of


Chapter president Boots, who won first place in the Impromptu Speaking category, said she kept a “bag of tricks” handy for her event in which she had 10 minutes to create a three-minute speech on a topic chosen by the judges.

“I keep random quotes in my head,” said Boots of her strategy, sharing a quote from the Dr. Seuss book “Oh, the Places You’ll Go.” “I also just finished Driver’s Education, so I use the analogy of driving, of having to look up so you don’t swerve off the road.”

Although Boots took a first-place finish, she insisted that of all the things she has accomplished through FBLA, meeting and interacting with people she otherwise might not have known has been the highlight.

“My club and the people in it are absolutely amazing,” Boots said. “They know what they want and how to get it and we support each other every step of the way.”

The winners are …

Olivia Boots, first place in Impromptu Speaking

Gabe Lichten and David Slater, second place in Network Design

Nicole-Grace Masangkay, third place in Public Speaking

Sam Fletcher, fourth place in Technology Concepts

Olivia Boots, Rose Hawkins and Jake Larson, fourth place as a team in Business Ethics

Gabe Lichten, fifth place in Network Concepts

Monica Lopez and Brittany Nave, top 10 as a team in Entrepreneurship

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