Students extol award-winning Parkrose High business club

See how these outer East Portland students outshined much larger schools throughout the state …

Members of the Parkrose Business Association hold their monthly meeting at the Holiday Inn Airport hotel.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

At the monthly meeting of the Parkrose Business Association (PBA) on September 17, the 24 members and guests of the organization learned more about the Parkrose High School (PHS) chapter of Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA).

The group found out that Judy Kennedy of Pacific Northwest Federal Credit Union – who mentored students in the club – was presented a national FBL A award at a national meeting in Chicago, and that’s in addition to the organization’s Oregon award earlier this year.

Wayne Stoll of Century Associates/Argay Square facilitates this PBA meeting.

After telling of her experience with the FBLA, Judy Kennedy of Pacific Northwest Federal Credit Union introduces PHS seniors Shelby Martin and Jada Krening.

With the help of a video slide presentation, PHS seniors Shelby Martin and Jada Krening told about the organization, and why the joined their school’s club as juniors.

The mission of FBLA is to bring education and business together, creating a positive working relationship while presenting leadership and project challenges. Students can choose from over 50 competitive and skills events in the areas of technology, public speaking, business, finance, and management.

Parkrose FBLA member Jada Krening tells about going to the State level competition.

The Parkrose group competed in Digital Design and Promotion projects, the students said. They recalled how they received first place in the Oregon competition, and qualified for the nationals in Chicago, during the summer. 24 of their PHS members went to the State competition, and 17 qualified to go to the national competition.

Martin and Krening are also involved in their Business Leadership class; helping to run the PHS Student Store helped give them more of a “voice” in their school, as well as valuable experience.

Because of their association with the FBLA, Shelby Martin and Jada Krening say they got great “real world” experience, and made new contacts.

Attending both of the conferences was exciting, agreed Martin and Krening – giving them the opportunity to travel and see new places.

Being involved with FBLA has other benefits, the group learned. Their members are 40% more likely to start their own business and 25% of members are more likely to attend a four-year college or university. 60% of these students are interested in business majors, and say that the program positively impacted their educational performance. 99% of educators say that organizations like this are of value because of the education they provide.

She was surprised to find that the FBLA has unique support at Parkrose, mentor Judy Kennedy says.

Mentor Judy Kennedy said, “I was really surprised to see so few Portland schools at the State competition. I was really shocked to find out that Centennial, Parkrose, and Cleveland – and a school in Sherwood – were the only schools in the greater Portland area were participating in this.”

So, Kennedy’s added, “Students here in the Parkrose area are fortunate, because they have a strong program – now a national-award-winning program – in which they can participate.”

FBLA program leader Mike Verhulst, a PHS teacher, says why he believes in the program.

The PHS instructor leading the FBLA program is Mike Verhulst, who said it started up six years ago at the school. “It’s been an unbelievably good opportunity – to see the students take their learning in the classroom, and put it to use in the real world.

“In my classes, students were making business plans and reports, and giving presentations,” Verhulst went on. “But now, they can take that same project, and go on to compete against 2,000 students from all over the state.”

Talking about possible connections between the PBA and the Parkrose FBLA, Verhulst remarked, “We need your expertise to be able to help these students. As their advisor, I’m looking to build relationships with business – helping our students, and your businesses, become better competitors in the marketplace.”

The program is also looking for financial support Verhulst added. “Many of our students are from low socioeconomic households. Traveling to state and national competitions can be a big financial burden. We’re always looking for people to help out and give their money.”

The effort has been worth it to him, Verhulst said. “It’s an amazing opportunity, and so exciting for me, to be able to see young students like this step into the realm of business.”

Paul Wild, with Mt. Hood Community College shows his plate, served at the Parkrose Business Association Luncheon at the Holiday Inn Airport hotel.

Meet with the PBA
The PBA meets again on October 15 at 11:30 a.m. Come and meet this group of fun, energized business people. Their meeting is at Holiday Inn Airport 8439 NE Columbia Blvd. (in the hotel building, around the back at the former Flirt’s entrance – not the Convention Center next door.) The meeting is free, and the buffet lunch is $18 including dessert and gratuity; reservations are NOT required.

© 2015 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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