Making Connections for the Future

FBLALife is about the connections we make. Sometimes these connections come from people we’ve known our entire lives, friends next door, colleagues, or even classmates at school.

Because fitting in is a big part of a student’s success, especially during the teenage years, making these connections and collaborating with others can help students grow and learn. Studies have demonstrated this, but I learned it firsthand when I was still in school.

Transitioning from middle to high school was difficult for me, so the 9th and 10th grade years were a trying time in my life. Luckily, I had some excellent teachers who helped me adjust. One particularly important moment was the day my 11th grade computer teacher encouraged me to attend a Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) meeting.

When I finally relented and decided to go, I didn’t yet realize I’d made one of the best decisions of my life.

Over the next two years of high school, I found friends in my classes and met people from all over the state during competitions. This continued in college, and I’m almost certain my involvement with FBLA is how I landed my first job as a teacher. During the interview, it became clear they needed someone who could take on the school’s FBLA club. Of course, I said yes!

When students don’t connect with their peers, they sometimes feel lost and even withdraw from their academics. What can we as teachers do to prevent this? How do we encourage them to develop a sense of belonging? Watching my own students make the same connections that helped me years before was very rewarding. Many of my students earned scholarships, and a lot of them decided on future careers because of their participation in FBLA.

FLVS offers a wide range of opportunities for students to participate in clubs and activities. We also offer FBLA to any FLVS Full Time student or a student who attends a school that doesn’t have an active FBLA chapter. FBLA is one of the oldest career and technical organizations in the nation, and it does a great job of preparing students for careers in business leadership and technology. Yearly dues are $15.

You can find the list of other FLVS clubs and their descriptions here.

A teacher who notices and responds when a student isn’t developing connections can make a lasting impact on that student’s life, happiness, and success. I encourage teachers and parents to help students find where they fit in, whether that’s in a sport, club, hobby, or other student organization.

Elizabeth FulcherElizabeth Fulcher, Career and Technical Education Curriculum Specialist, joined FLVS in 2011 after 8 years in the traditional classroom. She owes a lot to CTE. She graduated from high school with a Gold Seal Scholarship and earned a Master's degree from UCF in CTE. She firmly believes CTE provides endless opportunities for students and prepares them for college and in-demand careers.

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