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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

FBLA builds bonds, learns life lessons at LDI event

By Jordan Hum | Copy Editor

Photo courtesy of FBLA
BUSINESS BUDDIES FBLA members pose for a picture to comemorate their LDI experience.

    While most students were dancing the night away at Homecoming, Gabrielino High School’s Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) were hard at work participating in workshops and competing at the Leadership Development Institute (LDI).

   FBLA is a student-run organization that educates students about business careers and prepares them for the professional world. The organization attends conferences, competitions, and volunteer services in order to gain the necessary skills and experience to succeed in the future. 

  LDI is one of four potential major FBLA events, in which the team stays overnight. The other three include section, state, and nationals if the team qualifies. This year, LDI took place over the weekend of Oct. 22, at the Double Tree by Hilton, in Anaheim.   

   The event unofficially started for FBLA after school on Oct. 21, with students taking a bus to the Double Tree Hotel, which served as both the venue for the event and the hotel students would stay in.

   After the members dropped their bags and settled in their hotel rooms, they participated in a “dream session” icebreaker, featuring the guest speaker for the weekend, Bill Cordes.

   “One of the things he did was match us with random people from other schools in order to have us work together and find out what our similarities were,” recalled FBLA officer senior Neil Lu. “He basically brought people together with an explicit moral message behind it.” 

   The next day consisted of five workshops and various competitions for students to participate in. Some workshops were led by motivational speakers, including Cordes, while others were led by the state FBLA officers, who were also high schoolers. Students participated in team bonding activities, including rocket-building and a dining etiquette activity, and also gained valuable advice from speakers. 

   “One of the things I took away was the importance of collaboration,” explained senior Kyle Truong. “People are so focused on themselves that they forget that the people around them can help.”

   Sprinkled throughout the workshops were the competitions that FBLA members competed in. Gabrielino lived up to their expectations, with sophomores Caitlin Lau and Ashley Chu winning the Intro to Event Planning category. Juniors Melindo Do, Brianna Chen, and Nicole Diep placed second in the Marketing category, with Junior Haily Tieu and senior Truong placing third.

   “Overall, we all did awesome,” said FBLA President senior Jason Veerachaylukana. “I was really proud of everyone.”

   As president, Veerachaylukana takes on a bigger responsibility than most, which can make conferences a different experience.

   “It’s difficult because you have to hold yourself to a higher level because you are president and you are an officer,” Veerachaylukana explained. “Of course you have fun, but it’s definitely hard to stay as a teacher and also as a student.”

   On Oct. 22, FBLA members went to BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse for a team dinner, where they increased their companionship, reinforcing a main idea from the conference. On the way back to their rooms, the team had a unique bonding experience. 

   “At the hotel, the elevator did not work. So we walked up and down like 16 flights of stairs together,” chuckled Lu.

   On Oct. 23, the last day of the conference, awards were given out to teams that placed. Cordes then recapped the main ideas from the conference and sent the schools back home, in hopes that they would apply what they learned to their future endeavors.

   “Throughout the course of the weekend, I was able to work alongside my numerous peers and build a very engaging experience, where we were able to delve into the workshops and competitions to further our business goals,” Lu stated. 

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