FBLA breaks school records

Cindy Liu , Contributing Writer

Just before spring break, Diamond Bar High School’s business savvy students swept the Future Business Leaders of America State Leadership Conference and broke school records with their success.

The state conference, held at the Sacramento Convention Center from April 6 to 9, attracted around 2,300 FBLA members from across California who gathered to compete in business events. Events fell under the categories of objective testing, role play, prejudged submissions, presentation, speech and team performance—all of which prepare students for the skills essential in various fields of the corporate world.

Among the thousands who attended the conference, 16 DBHS students placed in their respective events.

Seniors June Lin and Jessica Zhang placed first in LifeSmarts; seniors Ameer Alameddin and Vinay Bhupathiraju and junior Rajvir Dua placed first in Virtual Business Challenge; and senior Brian Sun, sophomore Ryan Li and freshman Jackson Lennon placed third in Entrepreneurship. All the DBHS teams that placed at state will advance to nationals.

For Lin, this year’s state conference was the first time she had placed first at state.

“We were really humble about [placing first, since] we didn’t even think we were going to place at all,” Lin said. “It was really exciting but at the same time really scary because you know that you’re going to be going against even better people across the country [for nationals].”

Eight students placed in individual events: freshman Ryan Lou, second in Word Processing; junior Rajvir Dua, third in Business Calculations; junior Ashvini Bhupatiraju,  sixth in Word Processing; senior Jodie Lu,  seventh in Impromptu Speaking; senior Sabrina Tseng,  eighth in Cybersecurity; junior Rishil Pansuria, eighth in Computer Applications; freshman Raymond Cheng, 10th in Intro to Business; and sophomore Karyn Real, 10th in Intro to Financial Math.

Lou and Dua will represent DBHS at the National Leadership Conference in their individual competitive events from June 29 to July 2 in Anaheim. For Dua, although it was his first time attending state, he had expectations of placing highly in his events.

“When you’re competing against students who have a lot more experience in competition and have been doing the same event for two or three years, it can be a little intimidating,” Dua said via Facebook. “However, I never doubted myself and my abilities, and in the end, I was able to do well at the state conference and prove that talent can trump experience.”

Leading up to the conference, the school’s FBLA officer team implemented a new mentor system this year in which experienced officers guided members to prepare for their events. As a result, members broke DBHS records: DBHS had the most attendance, awards, students who placed and projects submitted. Additionally, adviser Ty Watkins was named as the Inland Section advisor of the year.

FBLA presidents Bhupatiraju and Lin aimed to have ten national qualifiers, which they met.

“Every time we go to state, we’ll see people with these ribbons—maybe ten or more ribbons—and it looks kind of ridiculous,” Lin said. “[This year], we were one of those people… we had up to 13 ribbons at one point. It was a great honor because everyone in the chapter worked hard and contributed to those ribbons.”