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Shining the Light on Success!

A student from California who was born with several developmental challenges, both physical and emotional, placed first in the nation in one of the competitive events held earlier this month in Anaheim. How does a student who qualified for an Individual Education Program (IEP) outperform students with no disabilities? I asked his mother, and here is what she says:

My son has always had to struggle to do what comes naturally to others. Just like everyone else he wants to shine, to make others respect him, and to not be the awkward, different guy. For him it is a challenge. On top of having an IEP for his developmental setbacks, he is also a reclassified English Learner who is still catching up on the language gap. So he faced many challenges.

Learning in a Safe Place

When he was in middle school his principal encouraged him to join the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) program that was sponsored by the middle school. My son joined but at first he was not an active member. Nevertheless, we encouraged him to continue as we believed that it would make the transition to high school easier. Once he started his Freshman year in high school he met the teachers leading the program and found a safe haven for himself on campus, a place where he felt appreciated and supported.

Working Harder

In the couple of years since then my son had won 3 CA FBLA State Championships, and placed in FBLA Nationals both as a Freshman, and as a Sophomore winning a National championship. The students in the program know that he is different, but they also know that he is a valuable member, that he brings honor to the school. They want to include him. His self-esteem is sky rocketing, and he knows that he can do well just like anyone else, and even better as he is willing to work harder.

The Biggest Win is Personal Growth

The success is not just in the awards he won. It is also in personal growth. At the beginning, I had to travel with him. With his challenges it was hard for him to share a room, and be with others. He did not have a group of friends to go out with for food, or have a conversation. This has changed, and for me this is the biggest win. My son is now comfortable traveling with his FBLA friends, and sharing a room with 3 other students (handpicked for him by the teachers). He has social interactions and makes friends.

Great Teachers

The teachers keep an eye on my son, and I feel that they are as proud of my son’s achievements as I am.
In my son’s last IEP meeting one of the teachers joined the IEP team, reflected the challenges he sees, and suggested opportunities for growth and improvement. His input was invaluable because he knows my son so well from observing him not only in the classroom, but also at FBLA. Seeing my son on so many varying occasions gave the teacher opportunity to bond and support my son.

Knowing that there are two teachers that he can approach with anything that he needs makes my son feel safe and comfortable at school.

Confidence Won

The recognition my son had from his achievements in FBLA and being part of a group helped him grow and acquire confidence and maturity that will support him when facing challenges in the future.

California Students Win Big in Anaheim!

Over 400 FBLA students from California competed at the 75th annual FBLA National Leadership Conference in Anaheim, CA. California FBLA students placed first in the nation in the following subjects:

Introduction to Information Technology
Business Calculations
Business Law
Partnership with Business Project
Future Business Leader
Management Information Systems
Cyber Security
Networking Concepts
Public Speaking I
Securities and Investments

While competing is the primary reason for going to a national conference, a big part of the experience at this event was the personal connection between students and their friends and their FBLA Chapter Advisers. Teacher-adviser’s do their best in the classroom to teach their students in many business, technology, and design subject areas and then support them as they show others what they have learned and what they can do. Excitement, congratulatory handshakes and hugs, and expressions of joy abounded during the closing awards ceremony.

Highlights of the event for me included seeing a blind student from another state won recognition in the Cyber Security category event. Students from across the United States and from FBLA Chapters in China, Haiti and the US Virgin Islands came to California and enjoyed the warm welcomes, the sunny weather… and Disneyland! I was proud to see Myra Cheng, a student from Lynbrook High School in San Jose, CA, elected to national office for a second time.

The incoming California FBLA student officers this year have set a goal to establish new FBLA chapters at the middle school level to serve students in ways that will better prepare them for their high school experience. The California FBLA Board of Directors recently approved a proposal to develop a K-12 alignment of schools which emphasize leadership skills to address students’ social-emotional and 21st Century skills development.

Working Together Everyone Accomplishes More!

~ Gary Page, California FBLA State Adviser

Over 2300 California Future Business Leaders of America (California FBLA) students from throughout California are attending the 67th annual CAFBLA State Leadership Conference in Sacramento this week. Competitions at the conference include a wide range of business technologies subjects, including: Mobile App Development, Cyber Security, Social Media Campaign, Website Design, and Entrepreneurship. Nearly 200 adults will be supporting the conference including judges from business and industries and classroom teachers who instruct and advise the students.

Gary Page, California FBLA State Chair, said: “Some of the smartest and best dressed students in the nation will be competing at the conference.” Backing this up with some facts, Page remarked: “Last year at the National Leadership Conference in Atlanta our California FBLA Champions were called to the stage to accept 199 awards! 21 of those awards were for first place and 32 for second place.”

At the conference students can attend up to 18 workshop on topics like: How to Dress for Success; Networking for Success; Coding in Business; Developing a Personal Mission Statement; and College Prep & what to Expect. FranklinCovey staff will feature a workshop based on habit 2 of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Lead with a Servant’s Heart!

I noticed an interesting blog the other day about change agents, and their motivations… Change happens because people care for others. I love this picture
and its advice:
Management change agent guru Ken Miller says: “The world needs change agents. Your organization needs change agents. You can be that change agent. Not for the glory or for advancement — you probably won’t get either. Not for admiration or even convenience — the path of a change agent can be lonely and often painful as you try to help others see what is possible, prepare for what is inevitable, and let go of what has sustained them thus far. Like great artists, change agents are usually only admired after they are gone.”

So why bother?

At the heart of his work, Kent Keith was pointing to a bigger motivation, something that today, 40 years later, seems like an old-fashioned notion and certainly not a phrase we use much anymore: brotherly love. As he said, “If you’re in it for other people, then helping them will give you satisfaction that having your name in lights could never compete with!”

Here are Ken’s 10 Commandments of Government:

  1. The reward for doing good work is more work. Do good work anyway.
  2. All the money you save being more efficient will get cut from your budget now and forever. Find efficiencies anyway.
  3. All the bold reforms you make will be undone by the next administration. Make bold reforms anyway.
  4. There is no time to think about improving what we do. Make time anyway.
  5. Employees may fight the change every step of the way. Involve them anyway.
  6. The future is unpredictable and largely out of your hands. Plan anyway.
  7. The press only cares when something goes wrong. Share your success stories anyway.
  8. Legal will never let you do it. Simplify it anyway.
  9. If you develop your people they will move on to better jobs. Train them anyway.
  10. Your ideas will at best make someone else look good and at worst get you ostracized by your co-workers. Share your ideas anyway.

Adopted from Ken Miller: The Paradoxical Commandments of Government

Business teachers who have students looking for an engaging way to develop and improve their Cyber Security skills should invite their student to participate in an upcoming CyberPatriot National Youth Cyber Defense Competition. The California Community Colleges Doing What Matters program has funding available to support the participation of middle school and high school teams.

Teams can be formed anytime during the school year and you don’t have to be a computer expert to lead your team. This program is for all students interested in developing leadership and organizational skills while learning what it takes to work as a cybersecurity professional.

What is CyberPatriot?

CyberPatriot is the National Youth Cyber Education Program. The competition puts teams of high school and middle school students in the position of newly hired IT professionals in charge of managing the network of a small company. Click here to watch a brief video.

In the rounds of competition, teams are given a set of virtual images that represent operating systems, and are tasked with finding cybersecurity vulnerabilities within the images and hardening the system while maintaining critical services.

Teams compete for the top placement within their state and region, and the top teams in the nation earn all-expenses paid trips to Baltimore, MD for the National Finals Competition, where they can earn national recognition and scholarship money.

How to Get Started:

For step-by-step instructions on how to start a CyberPatriot team any time of the year, visit the California CyberSecurity Education Center website. You’ll find a complete “Get Started” package which includes system requirements, competition details, training modules and much more.

For more information and to request assistance, contact the CyberPatroit team at: cyberpatriot@ict-dm.net.