Kennedy High School is sending the most students in its history to the national Future Business Leaders of America convention in Anaheim, Calif., but the five students are looking for community support to get there.
Adviser Robby Morrissey knows the importance and excitement surrounding attending nationals: In fact, the last Kennedy student to attend the national event was Morrissey himself, more than 10 years ago.
"Last year, we had a couple qualify (for nationals) but they didn't go," Morrissey said. "This is the most we've had going. And the reason is this year it's in Anaheim, so it's not as far to travel and there are attractions right there. With the seniors, it's like their last big thing before leaving."
Of the school's 30 FBLA members, 22 competed at state in April in Portland. Additionally, they attended seminars and workshops while at the three-day event. Of that group, six students qualified for nationals.
Emily Frey, Rebecca Pranger and Molly Jaeger placed third in the hospitality management category, for which they have to individually complete an online test and then collectively work on a presentation with only 20 minutes of prep time.
David Wright competed individually and placed first in computer applications. That also consisted of an online test on basic computer knowledge and then an impromptu real-world scenario in which he had to demonstrate the skills he learned. For placing first, he received a plaque and a $100 check, since it was a sponsored category.
"I got involved (with FBLA) because I wanted to do something with that (computer science) as a career, so this just solidified it's what I want to do," Wright said.
Lily Flud placed fourth in FBLA principles and procedures and Nick Spickelmier placed third in intro to informational technology.
Spickelmier is the only one of the six not planning on heading to the seven-day national event June 26 to July 3, which is quite pricey, at about $1,200 per person.
"A lot of people in Mount Angel don't get out and see what's outside of Mount Angel, so it's a good push for me to experience other things," Flud said about why she wants to go. "I'd really encourage people to try and go, even if they can't afford it."
While the students are paying their own way as much as possible, upcoming fundraisers will help ease the cost. First, in conjunction with the Mr. JFK Pageant this Saturday, FBLA is hosting a dinner and auction before the pageant begins at the high school. The silent auction starts at 5 p.m. and runs up to the pageant, which starts at 7 p.m. The spaghetti dinner, which costs $10, starts at 5:30 p.m.
The pageant itself, which is $5 per person, raises money for Doernbecher Children's Hospital.
Another fundraiser for FBLA will be June 8. From 3 to 8 p.m., Burger Time will donate 50 percent of its proceeds to the FBLA quintet. They also are considering running a car wash at the same time.
Additionally, members have sent letters to local businesses and met with the local chamber of commerce.
"Those partnerships with the business community are really important," Frey said.
Building relationships in the business community is a natural fit for FBLA students, who said they've already put the skills they've learned to good use, from interviews to resume building.
"I've had a lot of interviews for scholarships, and I really think this has helped me be more familiar and comfortable," Pranger said.
"Just the experience of getting up and talking in front of people, to be confident, is such an important skill," Morrissey added.
Morrissey said it's been exciting to watch the program blossom in the three years he's been adviser.
"It's a cool way to give back," he said. "I've been trying really hard to build up the program. I know at nationals they'll bring back so many great stories and memories. It's a great experience."
Support FBLA & Doernbecher
Who: Future Business Leaders of America JFK chapter & Mr. JFK contestants Brett Traeger, Jack Suing, Bishop Mitchell, John Kim and Skyler Bizon
What: Spaghetti dinner, silent auction and Mr. JFK pageant.
When: May 20. Silent auction from 5 to 6:45 p.m., dinner at 5:30 p.m., pageant at 7
Cost: $10 for dinner, $5 for pageant admission
Where: Kennedy High School, 890 E. Marquam St., Mount Angel