West Bend’s future business leaders take national challenge
High school club participates in national competition; one local student places fourth

By ALEX BELD - Daily News

July 19, 2017

Claire Frick, Kara Conley, Adam Lucka, Victoria Hunt and Kelsey Nowack pose for a photo outside of the Anaheim Convention Center in California during the FBLA competition.
Submitted photo

At the end of June, five students from the West Bend High Schools flew to Anaheim, California, to compete in several categories at the Future Business Leaders of America national competition.

Competing in areas of hospitality management, journalism, computer networking and the elite category of future business leader, the five students were exposed to a wide variety of experiences. One of them, Claire Frick, placed fourth nationally in the category of future business leader.

Recently the president of the high schools’ chapter, Frick said, “I knew it was going to be very challenging.” She explained that during the state competition she had told everyone they could leave early from the awards ceremony as she didn’t expect to do well in the category.

The competition at nationals consisted of an online test with 100 questions, which needed to be answered in an hour. The first part was similar to the other competitions, but was followed by a 10-minute interview.

After learning she was in the top 12 out of 86 she had to participate in a 15minute interview with three interviewers. She was asked to describe herself and was given ethical scenarios to consider.

“It was kind of rapid fire questions,” Frick said. Other students like Kara Conley, and former FBLA vice president, took their test, but also took time to meet people in the FBLA organization and network with their peers.

“I actually met another girl going to Madison (University of Wisconsin-Madison) in the fall,” Conley said.

Among the takeaways for Conley was the idea that the students there should form visions of their future to aspire to.

Conley said they learned quite a bit about actually being leaders.

East High School Junior-to-be Adam Lucka, however, had a slightly different experience as the only male amongst the group he was placed with a stranger in a hotel room.

“I had a roommate from a school I’ve never heard of before,” Lucka said. He explained he gained experience in quickly networking and the event “really helps you see your future.”

The other two students, and soon to be seniors, to participate were Victoria Hunt and Kelsey Nowack and they participated in the hospitality management competition.

Though two of the five, Conley and Frick, won’t be returning to the school next year, or to FBLA, they both spoke about expanding the local chapter.

Frick said that through the organization “You gain so many leadership skills.” She added that it’s a great way to network and looks great on college applications.

Conley said “It really involves the community a lot.” She explained it also offers plenty of hands-on experiences students may not get in class.

FBLA student advisor Allison Holtzer said the organization has helped some former students get jobs and even scholarships. And though the organization is still small at the high schools, she said she likes to think it has helped to foster relationships with with businesses in the community.