Crisandy Capidos grew up in Davao City, on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, speaking the Cebuano dialect of Filipino.
Learning English became mandatory in first grade, and teachers would fine students who used their mother tongue through sixth grade, Capidos said.
“I had confidence before coming here, but when I came it was so difficult,” the 17-year-old foreign exchange student said of the language.
Nevertheless, Capidos joined Stanwood High’s Future Business Leaders of America club and began crafting and practicing a speech for the state competition.
In early April, she capped her journey by placing seventh out of a few thousand competitors from around the state.
“She won based on the content of her speech,” Stanwood FBLA advisor George Colby said. “She really did earn that seventh place. She had to overcome how to learn to speak.”
Colby, in his 25th year as FBLA advisor, said at least one Spartan has qualified for nationals in all 25 years, including three who went on to place first in the country.
“But this is the first exchange student to make it this far,” he said.
Capidos said she was “always fascinated with the USA, so when I had the opportunity for a year free to study here, of course.”
She was one of 30 selected for the program, and one of three who ended up in Washington.
“Reading is my forte, but I think my voice is my strength,” Capidos said. “One of my dreams is to try joining clubs — a public speaking or a dance club. I was not able to do the dance club, unfortunately that not really a thing here.”
But she found FBLA helped her hone her public speaking skills.
“I want to be a leader, but not so much in business,” said Capidos, adding that it was her host parents Lynne and Paul Eide of Camano Island — who recommended the club for its public speaking opportunities.
“I’m torn between becoming a doctor but my strength is my speaking, so maybe something in communication,” she said.
Capidos qualified for FBLA nationals, but won’t be able to attend. She flies to Washington, D.C., “She’ll head back having accomplished quite the achievement,” Colby said.
Stanwood High results from the state FBLA event
Stanwood FBLA competed at FBLA State from April 10-13, here’s who placed:
- Public Speaking: Crisandy Capidos, 7th
- Electronic Career Portfolio: Caitlin Hanan, 9th
- Partnership with Business: Katie Jenkins and Caitlin Hanan, 6th
- Business Math: Jeffrey Rahman, 10th
- Business Law: Jeffrey Rahman, 4th
- Global Business: Jeffrey Rahman, 4th
Rahman is going to compete in business law at the FBLA national event June 24-July 2 in San Antonio, Texas.