Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

By Chris Collins


Baker High School students got a chance to learn more about Future Business Leaders of America when the organization's state officers, including one of their own, stopped by for a day of instruction Monday.

BHS senior Amanda Bailey is the vice president of media for the statewide group and executive vice president of the BHS chapter of FBLA.

In her statewide role she has produced videos that explain FBLA activities and introduced the state officer team to the membership. The videos can be seen on YouTube.

Bailey joins seven other state officers, including President Jordan Bales, an Imbler High School senior, and Carter Ritsch, a senior at Ontario High School, who serves as Blue Mountain Region vice president.

The group introduced newcomers to the organization and worked to motivate returning members to strive for success as part of this week's Chapter Leadership Tour.

Other state officers are CJ Severson of Hidden Valley High School in Grants Pass, state executive vice president and this year's national FBLA treasurer.

Jordan Frisendahl of Merrill, a junior at Lost River High School, is the Cascade Region vice president; Parker Snook, a Scappoose High School sophomore, serves as Northwest Territory Region vice president; junior Moses Montenegro, of Grants Pass High School, is Rogue Umpqua Region vice president; and junior Rayann Metteer, of Silverton High School, is the Willamette Valley Region vice president.

A record-high number of 180 students from throughout the Blue Mountain region participated in Monday's event at BHS.

The Blue Mountain region ranges from Ontario in the east to the newly established Stanfield chapter to the west and includes schools of all sizes in between.

After a pizza lunch for participants, the state officer team headed for Portland where another training session was scheduled Tuesday at Concordia University for Portland-area students. The tour ends today in Grants Pass.

Teacher Toni Zikmund, Baker FBLA adviser, said the leadership tours are a great recruitment tool for the program as a new school year gets under way.

The state team promotes membership as a way of meeting new people from all over the state - and even the nation - as well as providing networking opportunities and teaching leadership skills, Zikmund said.

On Tuesday while traveling with her fellow state officer team members en route to Grants Pass, Bailey said she's dedicated to FBLA service because of the confidence she's gained through the organization.

She recalls how timid and shy she was as a freshman when she first joined FBLA.

"I gained a lot of confidence and I really want to see another member become more involved and confident," she said.

The program's mission emphasizes service, education and progress to prepare students for their future careers, she said.

The Baker chapter participates in several community service projects throughout the year and members hone their skills to compete in business contests ranging from data base design and application to parliamentary procedures and health care administration.

The Baker chapter's first community service project begins this month with a pumpkin-carving event. Students will deliver their carved pumpkins to patients at the hospital and nursing home.

Throughout the year, FBLA members also sponsor a Salvation Army Angel Tree, provide care packages for the troops during the holidays and organize a fundraising event to benefit the March of Dimes.

Students will compete in a regional skills contest at Eastern Oregon University in La Grande on the first Thursday in February.

During Monday's leadership training sessions, advisers from throughout the region met to plan the February event, Zikmund said.

The top qualifiers in the region advance to the state competition where the winners there will advance to the national conference scheduled June 27-30 at Anaheim, Calif.

Baker FBLA Chapter officers are Andy Serish, president; Amanda Bailey, executive vice president; Michelle Freese, vice president; Erin Elms, secretary; Grace Dudley, treasurer; Nic Maszk, historian; Erin Bachman, reporter; Devon Galiszewski, parliamentarian; Ashley McMurray, store manager; Caroline Dudley, community service director; Bailey Hill, media specialist; and Katie Tool, recruitment director.