EL MONTE – Students from South El Monte and El Monte high schools won a total of 24 awards during the 2021 Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) Virtual Inland Section Leadership Conference, securing a chance to compete in the state contest in April.

South El Monte High School students earned 15 awards in categories including business communication, entrepreneurship, accounting, marketing and public speaking. El Monte High School students earned nine awards in similar categories, including management decision making and international business.

FBLA Advisor and EMHS business teacher Richard Douge said that despite being virtual, students in FBLA and involved in their Career Technical Education (CTE) pathways rose to the challenge, earning their school ninth place out of the 10 high schools competing.

“The biggest benefit of a competition like this is that our students get to experience what it takes to be successful in business, they learn valuable leadership skills and how to carry themselves in a professional working environment,” Douge said. “I am beyond proud of them and their accomplishments.”

El Monte High senior and FBLA President Linh Tran is one of 13 students who will be advancing to the FBLA state competition in April.

“As FBLA president, I’ve had the chance to grow out of my comfort zone and develop my professional communication skills,” Tran said. “Before, I used to be very scared and nervous whenever I had to speak in front of groups of people but being president has helped me to overcome these fears.”

Tran said she is excited and nervous for the state competition in April but is looking forward to the challenge.

“Qualifying for the state competition is a huge accomplishment, as it took hours of hard work and time dedicated to studying,” Tran said. “I’m really proud of my teammates for trying their best and advancing to state.”

South El Monte High School Principal Dr. Jorge Morales expressed how proud he is of SEMHS students who competed in the FBLA Conference and of those students who are moving on to the state competition.

“Our mission at SEMHS is to prepare students for college and career, and it is because of the collaboration of our teachers and students through distance learning that we are able to continue fostering an environment conducive to that purpose,” Morales said.

FBLA Advisor and SEMHS business teacher Tam Ly-Wong said that collaborating virtually has been challenging, but that the students’ individual and group perseverance paid off in a big way.

“We appreciate our students’ tenacity to move forward despite the pandemic,” Ly-Wong said. “It is wonderful to see what they have accomplished, and we are hoping to be able to pass out the awards to them once the plaques arrive.”


021821_EMUHSD_EMHSFBLA1: El Monte High School students compete in the 2020 Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) Inland Section Leadership Conference.

021821_EMUHSD_SEMHSFBLA1: South El Monte High School students compete in the 2020 Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) Inland Section Leadership Conference.