You, too, can be an FBLA judge

By Shawn Byrne

Sun Editor

In some way, shape, or form, almost everyone would like a chance to mold the future for the better. The opportunity to do just that is available at the 2020 Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) – Arizona Region 4 Conference to be held Jan. 25 at Wickenburg High School.

The conference needs 30-40 people with experience in business, IT, photography, film, IT help desk, management or sports entertainment to judge competitions.

“It’s not the hardest thing in the world,” said Bill Babyar, WHS film and TV production and business management teacher. “We need people who can do job interviews, are able to listen to public speakers and understand what makes a good public speaker.”

The best thing is what FBLA organizers won’t do, and that’s throw judges to the wolves represented by 47 teams from 38 Region 4 area high schools.

“They don’t need to know how to judge to be able to,” Babyar said. “They’ll get a mini-training the morning of. Someone will go over the rubrics and what they’re jobs are.

“Mainly they want to know there is someone who is listening to the students and able to give good feedback, and help teach them so they can grow.”

Future judges can visit where they can view  rubrics for the events they’re interested in judging.

“Judges get to work with high school students and help them grow,” Babyar said. “We’re looking for people who are excited to be there.”

Duncan Schultz has judged at a regional conference like the one coming to Wickenburg High School, and he’s also arbitrated at a state competition. He admits there might be a few moments of anxiety at the start of competitions, but those feelings quickly disappear.

“The first time was a little bit nerve-racking,” Schultz said. “But you’re not jumping in blind. There are so many people with experience to help you if you need it. It takes a couple of students and teams to come in to really know what you’re doing, but you get it really quick and it’s a fast learning-curve.”

FBLA organizers want its judges to succeed because having successful judges leads to having successful students at the competition.

Schultz’s career has revolved around social media and digital audience development.

“I work to put as many eyes as possible on a webpage or digital platform,” he said.

Schultz said when he judges he is comfortable judging digital marketing, social media, public speaking and prepared events such as those with presentation aspects. He has discovered judging rewards local business owners by seeing the level of talent their young neighbors possess.

“Most of these students are going to be career ready,” Schultz said. “It’ll help to understand what they know, what they don’t know, and how fast they can be trained and be put to use in the modern business world.”

For more information and to sign up to be a judge, visit

“It’s fun,” Babyar said. “It’s kind of cool being on the other side of the table and see the passion of the students.”

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