Story and photos by FNN Reporter, Sean Beach.
JULY 23, 2019: From June 28th - July 3rd, 2019, Tech Prep Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) experienced their first National Leadership Conference in San Antonio, Texas. The conference gives all Future Business Leaders of America students the opportunity to compete in various competitions, network with other business leaders, and experience San Antonio. We had a lot of great experiences during our time there. For many of us this was our very first time in Texas and they picked a great city for the conference.
On Friday morning, we flew from Reagan National Airport and had a 45-minute layover in one of the biggest airports I have ever been to in my life—Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta. It was a hassle trying to get from one side of the airport to another. We started in Terminal A and had to depart from Terminal C which was two stops on the airport train. We knew if we wanted to make it on time we had to rush over to the other terminal. Many people were running like us so that they wouldn’t miss their flight... just like the Home Alone movies.
When we got to San Antonio we, of course, checked into our hotel and got situated in our rooms. We walked around the city for a little while to see what San Antonio was all about and saw the famous River Walk, the Tower of the Americas, the historic architecture of the buildings, and some of their famous restaurants. The Riverwalk was just an amazing experience by itself, a very beautiful and busy sight to see. It was filled with many people who are from and aren’t from the city. The Tower of the Americas was so tall that we could see it from our hotel. And we had the chance to figure out how to get to the convention center for the next few days.
That evening we ate at a great place called WHATABURGER. We already knew their food was going to be good because of the long line. I can definitely say that the wait was worth it. The food was soooo good. McDonalds has nothing on WHATABURGER.
After dinner we were all tired, so we just chilled in our rooms and practiced for our competitions. Jadia Davis and Ny’Sjae Palmer practiced their Business Plan presentation, Tamyra Barker and Tymia Jones had to practice their graphic design presentation, Nialiyah Brown had to practice her public speaking, and I had to practice for my job interview. We all practiced together and gave each other feedback to ensure that we make our presentations better.
“POOL POOL POOL,” is what I said Saturday morning as we headed to the rooftop pool at our hotel. Most of our Saturday morning was spent at the pool until we had lunch. After lunch, it was my nap time. I was exhausted and I wanted to be up and ready for the opening session of the National Leadership Conference (NLC) that night. The opening session was probably my favorite part of the entire conference. It was similar to a school pep rally—just with 10,000 more people. It was so much fun with the spirit of FBLA in the air. We saw how much FBLA meant to other people around the country. During this session, state pins were traded, there was a roll-call parade, a keynote speaker, and much more. While we were trading pins with other students from different states we saw what is like for all of us to be a part of FBLA. Many students had a lot of excitement and joy for the NLC and were ready to “Create, Lead, and Inspire” which was the theme of this year’s NLC.
Sunday was competition day!!!! We were up and out early in the morning. Nervous feelings ran through our bodies, but we knew that we’d do great. Each person from our school competed against at least 100 people. All I could say was, “Whatttt! Wow!” But the competition didn’t stop us from performing with excellence. For our first year at FBLA we did GREAT! We may not have been finalists, but we knew we still did a great job. Next year we should ensure that we are using all the resources provided to us.
Monday we had campaign rallies for Tuesday’s voting for National Officers. On Tuesday we voted for the 2019-20 National Officers. We took a river boat to learn more about San Antonio’s Riverwalk which was absolutely beautiful and filled with stores and restaurants—most of which are historic. It was amazing how the Riverwalk was constructed. I didn’t even know that the Riverwalk was constructed. All of my team members and our advisers definitely enjoyed the riverboat because we were able to see and experience something different. Tuesday evening was the the FBLA Awards of Excellence Program. And that ended our conference.
Wednesday morning, it was time to go home!!! We were definitely ready. San Antonio was great and we really did enjoy ourselves. It’s definitely a great place to visit and to have our National Leadership Conference. I would also love to go back to San Antonio but not for FBLA because I want to be able to experience the city and visit the Alamo, Six Flags Fiesta Texas, and so much more. And I also love how FBLA holds its NLCs in a different location each year so we can experience different cities and states. For instance, next year’s NLC will be in Salt Lake City, Utah and the 2021 NLC will be in Anaheim, California.
Sean Beach is a rising 11th grade scholar at Friendship Tech Prep Academy.