Sports career day a milestone for FBLA youth
The fourth annual Pro Sports Career Day in Wenatchee had a special meaning for the leaders of the Quincy Future Business Leaders of America chapter.
Seniors most of them, they have come to the end of the road, having started the daylong event four years ago.
America Simental, Melissa Aguilar, Gonzalo Birrueta, Silvia Esparza and Vanessa Buenrostro are among the FBLA officers who have participated in it all four years.
Back then, same as now, the event took place at Wenatchee’s Town Toyota Center, gathering students from around North Central Washington. Back then, same as now, speakers came to share with these students their knowledge. This year, though, it was not just about a career in sports, but about leadership, marketing, and several other professional fields.
“We did start with speakers in leadership and business and marketing,” said Quincy FBLA chapter historian Esparza of the first Pro Sports Career Day of four years ago, “But as we progressed, we started getting more speakers to kind of influence youth and inspire them to go out and pursue a career they are interested in and they are passionate about.”
This year alone, Pro Sports Career Day included the involvement of the Greater Wenatchee Area Technology Alliance (GWATA) and the North Central Educational Services District (NCESD) bringing speakers.
Simental said that each year it has become easier to put on the event, because the students work well together, but it’s also a challenge to find and bring new and different speakers each year.
The name remains “Pro Sports Career Day” because every year there’s at least one speaker coming to talk sports, said Simental, the chapter president. Not necessarily to talk playing sports or marketing sports, but other areas. In addition, the event takes place in the home of the Wenatchee Wild hockey team.
Ross Kondo, adviser for the Quincy chapter of FBLA praised the group’s leadership for carrying on the tradition of the event and thanked the organizations that helped bring speakers to it.
“Being able to connect with these organizations has really helped us,” Kondo said.
The students reach out to individuals and do the legwork necessary to connect with speakers. As youngsters, they are more in tune with what they want to hear than an older adult would be, Kondo said.
Students from Oroville, Ephrata, Tonasket, Ellensburg and other areas showed up to listen to the speakers. The turnout was a little smaller than in past years, due perhaps to a nationwide downturn in FBLA membership, Quincy FBLA vice president Vanessa Buenrostro said. Still, the boys and girls had good questions and not just about sports.
“Most of them are looking for advice as high-schoolers,” said Birrueta, the chapter’s media manager. “Like, ‘what kind of practices can I put into my life to be successful in the future.’”
In addition to Pro Sports Career Day, the FBLA students held a community service project during the days prior to the event. Last year, they collected canned goods. This year, it was change. The Quincy FBLA chapter raised more than $170, which will be donated toward cancer research at Confluence Health.
With their last semester of high school around the corner, Simental said the seniors may not be done with Pro Sports Career Day after all.
“Mr. Kondo always says he wants us to come back and be speakers,” she said.
Until that day happens, the seniors will look back fondly on four years of hard work and friendship.
“It brings a tear to my eyes to think this is my last year working with my fellow officers,” said Aguilar, the chapter secretary, who thanked Kondo for the chance to represent Quincy. “It has been an honor.”
By Sebastian Moraga, firstname.lastname@example.org