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FBLA wins at state, next stop nationals

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Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) teams from Fife High School and Columbia Junior High returned victorious from state competitions in Spokane, April 15-17. From Fife High, 62 student members attended state with 20 of them earning top-five awards. Columbia Junior High took 26 student members and five of them placed in the top five. Now, it’s on to the FBLA National Leadership Conference this summer, June 28-July 3, in Chicago. From the high school, 13 of the 20 top-five winners at state qualified to represent Washington State at nationals, and two from the junior high qualified.

Additional awards were plentiful as well. Fife High won a Peninsula Region chapter award for having the largest chapter in this region (93 members this year), and a third place state chapter award for Most Creative Charitable Contribution. This past February, FBLA members held the Hope Glows 5K in honor of former superintendent John McCrossin, which was a fundraiser for the Fife-Milton-Edgewood Relay for Life.

Both the high school and Columbia Junior High won a Gold Seal Chapter Award of Merit. The junior high also took first place in state chapter awards for Highest Charitable Contribution and Most Creative Charitable Giving Campaign due to the FBLA chapter’s work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

And in keeping with what has become a sort of “election tradition” among Fife’s FBLA membership, Fife High’s Raksmey Por joined a long list of FBLA members to have been elected as the Washington FBLA Vice President representing the Peninsula Region.

Columbia Junior High’s FBLA advisor Keith Hannah said he is quite proud of his junior high competitors in how they hold their own competing against high school students.


"I am always excited, yet pleasantly surprised, to have a first-year national qualifier,” he said. “Because my first-year 9th grade competitors are competing as a high school, in many events they are competing against seniors in high school and other veteran competitors. The fact that we consistently have students qualify for finals round and even earn top-five awards speaks volumes about how hard the students work preparing for their respective events."

Fife High junior Caitlyn Jones, who will be going to nationals, won second place in Digital Video Production. Part of her category required her to prepare a report on February’s job shadowing day in which FBLA members participated in partnership with the Fife Milton Edgewood Chamber of Commerce.

“We sent 17 members to different businesses and some of them got help in their FBLA events,” Jones said. “We partnered with the Chamber of Commerce to connect our members with local businesses so they could get a better understanding of how their FBLA event corresponded with the businesses they hope to lead into and pursue a career in.” For example, Congressman Denny Heck visited AlphaGraphics in Fife that day and helped the FBLA Digital Design and Promotions and Business Ethics teams with their projects.

Fife High’s Trenton Kirchberg took third place (with partner Joseph “Jack” White) in Business Presentation and fifth place (with partner Katerina Schwab) in Digital Design and Promotion. Kirchberg said the state competition was “an amazing experience” and he looks forward to nationals.

“Even though I was a state competitor last year, this year's state conference seemed like a new, fresh experience. I'm thrilled to be national competitor two years in a row, having gone to nationals for public speaking as a freshman the previous year. Jack and I plan on refining and perfecting our presentation over the course of the next few weeks in preparation for Chicago, and I remain optimistic that we will do the very best we can at the competition.”

In preparation for nationals, FBLA members will fine-tune their presentations and help fundraise to finance the trip to the Windy City. A father-daughter dance fundraiser will be held on May 29, 6-8 p.m., in the Fife High School cafeteria, and all proceeds will go toward getting students to nationals. Advanced admission is $10 per person/$40 family (maximum) or $15 per person at the door. To register, go to or ;

FBLA members will also be visiting area businesses seeking tax-deductible sponsorships. Fife High’s FBLA Advisor Christiann Thomas expressed gratitude for how generous local businesses have been in consistently supporting FBLA students.

“They’ve been a huge help,” she said. “If you look at the number of kids who are able to attend nationals, it would not be possible without the help of our businesses.”