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Military Children Rise to the Challenge

Defense Media Activity
Fort Buchanan | May 2, 2016

Story byMaj. Ruth CastroSmall RSS Icon

Military Children Rise to the ChallengeCourtesy Photo

Isabella Calzadillas, daughter of Lt. Col. Arturo Calzadillas, Assistant Chief of Staff for the 1st Mission Support Command, won 1st Place during the FBLA 2015-2016 Puerto Rico State Competitive Events and will head to the National Leadership Conference in Atlanta, Georgia this summer representing Antilles High School and Puerto Rico. Isabella will be competing in the Job Interview Category.

FORT BUCHANAN, Puerto Rico - From deployments to new schools, military children are faced with unique challenges that ordinary youth their age never experience. Their ability to adapt to present and future changes deserves our respect and admiration. Throughout a parent’s military career, children can move around numerous times, having to adjust to a new school, curriculum, friends and extracurricular activities.

For Isabella Calzadillas, daughter of Lt. Col. Arturo Calzadillas, Assistant Chief of Staff for the 1st Mission Support Command, moving around throughout her father’s military career has not been a setback but a building block for her.

“Being a military child has taught me how to adapt to different environments because of having to move from place to place and being in different schools,” said Isabella.

Antilles High School, located on Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico, is home to many military and federal employee students. High School students interested in a business career are able to take advantage of certain programs like Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA). Isabella, Carlos Torres, and Daniel Irizarry are all military students who belong to FBLA.

On April 1st, they, along with six other students from Antilles HS participated in the FBLA 2015-2016 Puerto Rico State Competitive Events. Each student demonstrated their skills and abilities in business through seven different events.

The FBLA National Awards Program, also known as competitive events, recognizes and rewards excellence in a broad range of business and career-related areas. At the State Leadership Conferences, students compete in events testing their business knowledge and skills. Top state winners are then eligible to compete for national awards at the National Leadership Conference each summer.

All nine students will be moving forward to compete at the State Leadership Conferences in Atlanta Georgia. Isabella placed first in the Job Interview category, Carlos placed first in the Microsoft Excel category and Daniel placed first in the Introduction to Business Presentation category.

“I was very surprised whenever I found out that I won against a girl that has been studying business for three years,” said Isabella. “It felt really good and made me more confident in knowing that I was able to dedicate my time and put more effort so I could win this competition.”

Mr. Jose Cotto, Business Education Teacher and FLBA Advisor, mentioned how proud he was of all of his students who competed at the state level and are now headed to Nationals. “Here at Antilles, business classes are elective classes so students are not able to get the same type of curriculum and experience that students outside of Antilles are offered,” said Cotto. “There are specialty schools in Puerto Rico where students focus strictly on business.”

“The link between students and their parents is very important. The parents of our FBLA students have a big role in the success of their students,” said Cotto. “The parents are very involved in the program and I see the support amongst all my students and their parents,” added Cotto.

Isabella stated that her father helps her prepare for her competitions by role-playing job interviews. “My dad will ask me some questions and I answer them the way I would during a real interview. Then we go over the interview and give each other feedback,” said Isabella.

Being a part of the National Leadership Conference is a great achievement for Isabella and her peers. “I want to learn and make the most of this experience,” said Isabella. “Of course, I am going to strive to win but I am just very thankful to have this opportunity.”


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