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The City Journals

Hillcrest FBLA chapter excels at state contest, will send members to compete at nationals

May 29, 2022 01:48PM ● By Julie Slama

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

In more than 35 contests, Hillcrest High snagged top-10 honors at the Future Business Leaders of America state conference, qualifying several members for nationals.

Among those state results, the Huskies snagged three first-place finishes: senior Selena Yu in business communications; freshman Brian Wei in introduction to financial math; and seniors Humzah Khan, Achintya Mahajan and Anika Balakrishnan in hospitality and event management.

Junior Sofia Moeinvaziri, who got fifth in impromptu and was named to the state FBLA board, plans to compete at nationals June 29-July 1 in Chicago, with her younger sister, Sara, in social media strategies.

The two won the event at region, and at state they finished eighth. However, others ahead of them elected to compete in other contests or were unable to go, clearing the path for the sister team.

For the event, they created a social media campaign for a Persian restaurant, identifying primary and secondary target audiences, and platforms to reach those patrons.

“We really learned about what all goes into creating a campaign and how to build a good platform,” Moeinvaziri said. “FBLA is genuinely fun. I’ve learned general life skills, interviewing, public speaking and being able to work together, which I can use in my career in business, finance or maybe math and engineering. Plus, during the down time at competitions, it’s fun meeting new people and being with my team. Sara and I do a lot together, so it will be fun to compete together at nationals.”

Before they go, Moeinvaziri, who placed sixth in intro to business presentation at the virtual nationals last year, wants them to not only present in front of more audiences to get feedback, but also “go over rubrics and through the presentation to improve any ‘boring’ parts.”

Junior Amber Parker also plans to compete in nationals. While she and her partner, junior Sowmya Paritala, competed in publication design and graphic design at state, earning second and sixth, respectively, Paritala will be unable to compete in Chicago so Parker will present on her own in publication design.

Last year, the two competed in introduction to social media strategy virtually for both state and nationals.

This year, the two worked together using the prompt of making a logo suite that carried through various media and a website for men’s high-end clothing.

“We decided our target was for businessmen from the southern states and used it for both contests,” Parker said. “We wanted it to have a sleek and high-end look, so we had that idea when we designed our logo for that audience. We used the same colors and fonts throughout it, so it looked professional.”

Paritala added, “We focused on being able to present the publications we’re capable of that promoted a specific product or company.”

She joined FBLA to gain experience to have more practice in communication, presentations and teamwork, but added it’s also been fun.

“It was pretty exciting to get second; we got silver medals,” said Paritala, who also got a silver in business communication. “I’ve learned how it’s important to emphasize certain key points when presenting professionally. It was interesting to see more of the business type setting and how you have to put yourself out there with all the things you prepare. I think that was a good experience.”

Paritala said those presentation skills may come in handy at medical meetings as she wants to enter that field. Parker said she also may use those skills in her future career in aerospace.

Parker liked the creativity of making a campaign.

“I learned about the design process and what is involved to get to their final product of logos, websites, clothing designs, marketing and all,” she said. “I really liked the artistic part of it, but there’s also an understood industry standard and you have to show you know the professional design process with the rubric. I learned about that and I learned about small things like color theory and how colors affect people. I learned how to make things look professional and be able to incorporate the same things over several designs using the same color palette and same fonts. We researched why certain colors do certain things, why brands of certain types have certain advertising and we had to be able to get that information across in seven minutes.”

The duo had seven minutes to present and three minutes to answer questions. Parker will be on her own to do that in Chicago.

“I’ll review any comments we got from the state judges and then go over the bullet points from key ideas we said so I make sure to present Sowmya’s critical points,” Parker said. “It’s going to be challenging as there will be so many others competing. I like presenting to judges; and afterward, it’s going to be fun being in Chicago with my friends.”

Other Hillcrest silver medalists are freshman Benjamin To, introduction to FBLA; and sophomores Thomas Lu, Dheeraj Vislawath and Vishwa Murugappan, coding and programming.

Hillcrest third-place state-finishers include sophomores Murugappan, Vivaan Rajesh and Shreyas Sundar, data analysis; senior Anika Balakrishnan, future business leader; and senior Akash Chandrashekar and freshman Paritosh Mahanthi, mobile application development.

Hillcrest had two fourth-place teams: juniors Mahika Acharya, Aparnaa Narayanan and Saisha Vankayalapati; broadcast journalism; and Murugappan and Rajesh, management information systems.

Junior Laura Curtis competed in organizational leadership placing fifth as she did when she teamed up with junior Swetha Iyer in business management.

Freshman Ayush Chandrashekar grabbed sixth place in introduction to parliamentary procedure. Other sixth-place finishers include Amqi Su in supply chain management; Iyer in public speaking; juniors Michael Chen, Kunal Kamtekar and Adharsh Ramakrishman in website design; and senior Shivani Srinivasan and junior Campbell Hone, sales presentation.

Hillcrest seventh-place state finishers were sophomore Sang Hyun Chun, introduction to parliamentary procedure; Acharya, organizational leadership; sophomore Sophia Lin, introduction to event planning; and juniors Devika Rajeev, Acharya and Narayanan in public service announcement.

Eighth-place state finishers include Chun, introduction to financial math; and senior Erin Zhang, UX design.

Hillcrest’s students who earned ninth place include Chandrashekar, introduction to FBLA; and Vislawath, introduction to information technology.

Tenth-place state finishers are Chun, agribusiness; freshman Jacklyn Wei, business calculations; sophomore Thomas Lu, introduction to financial math; sophomore Abhimanyu Iyengar, introduction to business presentation