Monarch Hosts FBLA District Conference


David Andrews

Junior Davis Conklin accepts congratulation from State Officer Cody Armstrong at the FBLA District II State Conference on February 19th, 2013 at Monarch High School.

David Andrews, Sports Editor

19 schools descended on Monarch High School today to participate in the Future Business Leaders of America District II State Conference. Students from across the county participated in focuses ranging from computer programming to public relations. Previously, the State Conference had been held at schools such as Strasburg High School, a 90 minute drive. These schools have been inconvenient for Monarch students to get to and according to High School of Business Teacher Rudy Sumpter, “we spent a pretty penny on buses getting students there.” Largely due to the work of FBLA Vice-President of the Monarch chapter, junior Amy Karlzen, this year’s conference was held at a much more convenient location, Monarch High School.

Karlzen is not new to the arena of FBLA having been a national finalist for public speaking in 2012. Karlzen glowed when talking about FBLA, saying, “You get to show your knowledge of business and act in a professional manner, it’s a great organization.”

After attending the State Conference at Strasburg High School last year Karlzen began tossing the idea around in her head about hosting the conference at Monarch. “Monarch has great facilities, a great building, and a great chapter, and I thought we could do it [at Monarch].” Bringing the event to Monarch was a not an easy process. Karlzen had to procure approval from the school district, Monarch, and FBLA. Karlzen started this process in April 2012.

The conference consisted of both competitions and workshops with business professionals. Professionals from the area including Pamela Larson, VP of Corporate Security at Bank of the West, and Kelly Fowler of C.U.’s School of Business hosted workshops to inform students about future opportunities and expand student’s business knowledge.

While students enjoyed these speakers the highlight of the day for many was Monty Moran, Co-CEO of Chipotle. According to Sumpter, having Moran at the conference was due to the work of Monarch’s FBLA chapter president, senior Kinsey Merlino. Moran “basically set up two Chipotle stores in the cafeteria,” according to Karlzen. Junior Eric Doci and numerous other competitors cited the food as one of the best parts of the conference.

Hosting such a large event does not come without its struggles. Sumpter explained what he would do differently next time. “I’d start where everyone gets to go to the keynote and then go to their competitions so everyone can enjoy that.It was hard to make that work this year with buses, because they have to leave at a certain time, around one.” Senior Brian Larson was miffed that he didn’t get to see keynote speaker Monty Moran, “overall the conference was great but I was in competition when Mr. Moran was speaking, so I was disappointed about that.”

Such hiccups are almost to be expected in hosting a state conference for the first time. Karlzen summed up the day she had been working so hard to bring to fruition by saying, “I’m so proud of Monarch and everyone that helped put this on, I was really happy we were able to showcase the school and our FBLA chapter, because both are great and the district should know it.”

The FBLA community may be seeing more of Karlzen in the future as she has plans to run for state officer and become the second state officer from Monarch ever, following in the footsteps of Erik Wislinsky, who graduated in 2011.