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Marysville students head to FBLA nationals

From left, Meghan O
From left, Meghan O'Brien and Tyler Beach will be among those representing Washington state at the July 12-18 Future Business Leaders of America national competition.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

MARYSVILLE — Marysville-Pilchuck High School students Meghan O'Brien and Tyler Beach are heading to the national competition for the Future Business Leaders of America in Nashville, Tenn., from July 12-18.

O'Brien, a junior, and Beach, a sophomore, are both students at the M-PHS School for the Entrepreneur, and their two-person team placed third in the FBLA state competition in April within 60 FBLA teams. They'll be one of 100 such teams, with two to three team members each, at the national competition.

This is O'Brien's first and Beach's second national competition. With a state ranking that was just good enough to qualify them for nationals, they know that they'll need to step up their game, but they're confident that they'll rise to the challenge.

"It was difficult to do our presentation for state because one of our advisors completely altered it the night before, so we needed to do more practice," O'Brien said.

"We were up until midnight, and we had to get up at 6 a.m.," Beach said. "It was brutal."

The duo's prompt focused on selling careers as Career and Technical Education teachers to fellow high school students, since the K-12 educational field is facing an impending shortage of qualified business teachers. Their PowerPoint presentation ran for roughly five minutes, but they were also encouraged to talk with the members of their panel of adult judges, to simulate the back-and-forth of conversing about the subject with their peers.

"One of our main points is that there's such a need for CTE teachers that you can almost do whatever you want, wherever you want," Beach said. "There's a lot less competition in that field, so you're not as constricted in places where you can work or subjects you can specialize in."

"Plus, if you decide not to teach, you can use what you know to fall back on working in business," O'Brien said.

O'Brien and Beach reported that the judges gave them high marks for "working well together and knowing what we were talking about," although O'Brien received some criticism for a shirt she'd worn. They'll be wearing more coordinated outfits when they appear before the judges in Nashville.

"I'm very proud of them," said Kris Mikesell, FBLA faculty advisor and School for the Entrepreneur teacher. "They're very capable of winning the national award. All they have to do now is step it up."

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