FBLA wins big at State Conference

Four competitors advance to nationals

The Future Business Leaders of America team has four competitors moving on to nationals after competing at the FBLA State Conference in Sacramento, April 25-28.

Among the four OPHS students will be moving on to nationals, three are state champions: junior Aashika Srinivas placed first in Impromptu Speaking, junior Nik Thalanki placed first in Cyber Security, sophomore Arpan Reddy placed first in Advertising and junior Justin He placed second in Securities and Investments.

“OP FBLA got 8 awards total this year with 7 people placing. We even had three first places and one second place,” co-president and senior Sriram Sridhar wrote to the Talon. “I knew the group going was great based on how we did at Section Conference but I wasn’t really expecting how high people placed just because I know how hard state competition is.”

Due to the level of difficulty of the competitions, it takes a lot of work to place well.

“I knew I would place at least top 10 but I did not ever expect first place,” Reddy wrote to the Talon. “To place, you needed to be committed and interested in your subject. Being interested in what I was competing in really made a difference in how I approached it. I mainly prepared using Quizlets, but I also used some AP Economics and Marketing textbooks online.”

Before attending the Conference, competitors had to spend time studying on the topic they would be competing in.

“Other than a decent chunk of us packing like an hour before we left, we basically reviewed and practiced the material that we would be competing in as much as possible,” Sridhar wrote. “A majority of the events are objective tests, so for those, we took practice tests, studied resources from online like Quizlet, and even read parts of textbooks. For the speaking events, practice was key when preparing.”

Junior Justin He said competition comes in many forms.

“There are group events that you can compete in with 1-2 friends. We still all compete under the banner of OPHS, and there is a sweepstakes award that ranks schools based on the sum of their scores,” He wrote. “However, in non-group events awards are awarded to individuals, and qualification also is done on the individual level. Next year I look forward to winning in two events instead of just one.”

At the Section Conference earlier this year, Oak Park tied for first place in Sweepstakes, however, they lost in the tiebreaker. Co-president and senior Grace Ma is excited for what the team can do next year.

“I’ve been doing FBLA for four years,” Ma wrote to the Talon. “I see the club being more inclusive and achieving higher accomplishments at Section and State Conference, and growing in size. I think next year, we will place first in Sweepstakes at Section (best overall chapter). This year we tied for first, so hopefully next year we can achieve it solely!”

Ma described what it has been like to lead such a large group of students as co-president.

“FBLA is definitely not a one-man job, which makes me very grateful for the awesome team I have this year,” Ma wrote. “As a student-led organization, everything in FBLA is initiated by the students. That means that there is a lot of responsibility for the officers, which makes FBLA different from all other clubs on campus.”

Advancing to nationals, competitors will travel to San Antonio from June 28 to July 2.

“I understand nationals will be much more competitive but I’m excited to face against the best of the best,” Reddy wrote. “I’m not really sure what is in for me in the future of my FBLA career but I’m sure I’ll continue competing in FBLA.”