Approximately 11 years ago, the Saugus High School Future Business Leaders of America club shut down. The reason is unknown.
After an 11-year hiatus, the club has been brought back and has taken its place in making history at the Gold Coast Section Conference on Feb. 11 in Westlake, with 13 of its 16 members at the competition placing in the top 10 in at least one of several categories.
Caitlyn Park, president of Saugus’ FBLA, and other club members began the revitalization of the program in the fall 2022 semester at the annual homecoming carnival.
With the table attraction of jewelry being sold, club members were able to speak to the student body and teachers about the program, introducing them to a club that could guide their peers toward their careers.
“A lot of people go into these career pathways that includes business and working at a company and a lot of students will also end up majoring in business,” said Park. “We just want to give students an opportunity to explore these pathways more through FBLA.”
Saugus students were intrigued, and many members made the decision to join FBLA.
The FBLA club works to provide students with as many resources as possible such as creating a space to educate, converse and attend conferences and business competitions.
All of their efforts are to make it to the FBLA nationals in Atlanta, learning and creating connections on the way.
“I feel like a lot of times people think that we are in this club to win the awards and while that’s sort of an outcome of what we do here, or a byproduct,” said Jeremy DeLeon, treasurer for Saugus’ FBLA, “it’s really more of the connections that we make and the networking experiences that we’re able to generate not only within our chapter, but within other high schools throughout California.”
The Gold Coast Section Conference allowed Saugus’ FBLA to work toward its goal, being the third step in its five-step “FBLA Road to Nationals” journey. About 500 students were in attendance for the conference, including 17 of Saugus’ FBLA members.
Depending on what category they were competing in, members either had time to prepare or not to prepare.
“I did intro to public speaking and what that is, is they give you a prompt initially, and then you have to prepare a speech around the prompt,” said Jonah Batong, Saugus FBLA member. “I had a full week to memorize it and I mostly did and I said it all smoothly during the presentation time. There might have been a bit of nervous speaking in there, but I think I did OK.”
“I did impromptu speaking,” said Gabriel Fredo. “Basically, you’re given a prompt, you’re given 10 minutes to prepare, with the note card. You could write on both sides and then you just had to go up and give a speech that was within four minutes … I did OK. I was definitely a bit shaky at the start because I’m new to public speaking and impromptu especially, but it’s fun.”
Some of the topics involved good and bad business ethics, concerns for the future, social media in business, etc.
The Gold Coast Section Conference also allows for attendees to campaign for leadership positions with the Gold Coast Section of FBLA.
Park and Alex Black campaigned for the roles of president or vice president (in that order). The two both had to give a speech in front of all 500 attendees.
Park was chosen as the 2023-24 Gold Coast Section president and California state vice president. Black was chosen as the 2023-24 Gold Coast Section vice president of activities.
“It felt really good,” said Black, vice president of Saugus’ FBLA. “I felt like my hard work paid off.”
Thirteen members of Saugus’ FBLA placed in the top 10:
- Jonah Batong – 8th in intro to public speaking.
- Alex Black – 6th in intro to business concepts.
- Acey Distor – 10th in intro to financial math.
- Gabriel Fredo – 7th in impromptu speaking.
- Glenn Fujii – 2nd in securities & investments.
- Lucila Guzman – 6th in sports & entertainment management.
- Jacob Monreal – 8th in intro to business procedures.
- Bradley Nilson – 9th in health care administration.
- Caitlyn Park – 1st in advertising and 2nd in marketing.
- Anthony Sidhom – 10th in computer problem solving.
- Madelyn Yurek – 10th in job interview.
- Calvin Zwicker – 2nd in computer problem solving.
- Casey Zwicker – 1st in computer problem solving.
The following students also competed at the conference: Jeremy DeLeon (business calculations), Emma Ettouri (advertising) and Lily Merrick.
Six members of Saugus’ FBLA are set to advance in competing at the state competition in Sacramento, representing Gold Coast Section, on April 27-30.