Networking has a lot to do with business.

In part, that's why New Milford High School senior Roxanne Nagarwalla joined the school's chapter of the Future Business Leaders of America.

"I like the people, the brainstorming of ideas and interacting with businesses in the community," she said during a recent interview at NMHS.

Paul D'Amora, also a senior, joined for another reason.

While taking a business class during his sophomore year, a teacher mentioned the FBLA. Fond of business and interested in the idea of FBLA competitions, Paul eventually joined the group.

The FBLA is a national, student-run organization with chapters at high schools across the United States.

The local chapter has had a longtime presence at New Milford High School, according to Janice Perrone, a member of the NMHS business department, where she teaches accounting, personal finances and keyboarding classes.

She has been the group's advisor for nearly 10 years, although the group had existed for decades prior to her becoming advisor.

In addition to offering ideas, direction and advice about business, Ms. Perrone helps students prepare for competitions.

Ms. Perrone said students who attend the spring leadership conference compete against other students in FBLA chapters across the state. Students who place first or second would move on to the national conference.

The state conference consists of a variety of tasks.

Students may be asked to answer a written test with questions relating to classes they're taking such as accounting, business law, marketing or personnel finance; perform tasks, such as public speaking, an interview or the like; or answer questions in the combined mediums of the written form and performance.

Usually half to a third of the students in the local chapter attend the conference.

Senior Michelle Lin said she enjoys participating in FBLA, in particular the competitions.

"You can walk around and watch others," she said, "and hear business people talk... it's helpful because, after college, you need to look for a job, and the (professionals you meet) can give you tips."

In addition to the spring conference and possibly attending the national conference, the FBLA attends a fall conference featuring guest speakers and workshops with professionals.

Community service projects and fundraising also are among the group's activities.

Last fall, the local chapter sent a team to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Light the Night Walk in Newtown.

"That's what good business people do," said Ms. Perrone, noting why the students participate in community service projects.

Over the years, the group has raised funds through hosting several events, including a movie night for high schoolers and a game and movie night for elementary school students and their families.

Junior Carolina Marchena joined the chapter because she heard about the fundraising efforts and enjoys the game and movie night with younger children.