Is Having Something Better Than Nothing?

The members of FBLA and NHS discuss their experiences with online conventions.


Cerena Wu

“It was definitely worth joining despite not having an in-person convention, because NHS is more than just an event that happens once a year,” – Landon Thompson ‘22.

Elizabeth Collins, Staff Writer

Convention. It’s the biggest draw to any student looking to join a new club, and understandably, they want to know: “What does the biggest event of the year look like?” Usually, it involves a trip downstate to mingle, laugh, and come back with dozens of new inside jokes.

This year, that didn’t happen.

Despite not being able to travel, multiple organizations still had conferences, most recently the NHS and FBLA conventions. Advisors and students alike agreed that although they were online, it was still worth it to be able to have something.

“I do think that it’s better to have something, because it’s not just NHS,” said Michael Waugh, National Honor Society advisor. “We don’t have clubs and organizations just to say we do, because if you do, then you’re essentially saying that they’re not really important.”

Clubs are important. They’re a way for people to break out of their comfort zones, or practice something they already enjoy. Many students join clubs to enhance their high school experience, and speak highly of them to underclassmen.

“I would definitely say it’s worth it,” said FBLA member Madison Hedrich ‘22. “I would recommend that anyone who’s interested come join. We’re a close club and always share a laugh, no matter what function we’re at.”

With restrictions, and no set way to get everyone involved, advisors and leaders had to get together to discuss how to get everyone on board. “I thought it went pretty smoothly,” said Waugh. “They had to make sure that over five hundred people could stream in and see everything at the same time, not only broadcast a prerecorded video, but live things as well. I thought it went well, all things considered.”

Both the NHS and FBLA conventions were considered a victory. “Even though we didn’t have the traditional in person FBLA convention, this year, our group was still able to compete in a virtual one,” said Janelle Doak ‘21. “Although the convention was virtual, we still were able to talk to the presidents of different chapters and meet in groups to discuss different careers in business.”

Despite everyone’s best efforts, it’s a lot harder to make something online fun. “While I definitely enjoyed learning about the topics such as mental health awareness and its importance which was NHS’s theme this year, being on a Zoom meeting all morning is difficult to make fun,” said Landon Thompson ‘22.

“I think that all the adults and student leadership in the NHS chapters, including ours, did the best they could with the circumstances right now,” said Alaina Sperrey ‘21. “Since this is supposed to be the big event of the year and we aren’t allowed to meet in person, they made a modified event with what they had to work with.”

        For this year’s seniors, the difference from conventions prior to now is jarring. Memories of “before” are fuzzy, and many underclassmen haven’t experienced conventions yet. Some seniors never experienced a true convention either, due to the shutdown in early 2020. Although it’s difficult to compare the situations, every class missed out on major events.

“Both groups lost out and in some of the same ways,” said Waugh. “We’re in a pandemic, and those are really awful in more ways than one.  Both this year’s seniors and last year’s had to deal with losses.”

 “Although both the seniors of 2020 and 2021 had setbacks with conventions, I don’t think anyone was better off than the other,” said Doak. “We [the members of the FBLA] are including the 2020 seniors to help donate a check to give back to our community.”

Madison Hedrich

In the end, people still got together to make things work. Although they weren’t conventions in the traditional sense, members of each organization were able to showcase their efforts in a unique way. Despite not being normal, they’re definitely still conventions to remember.