Friday, March 11, 2016

Madison County students competing, learning to be business leaders

This from the Richmond Register:
Despite Thursday’s clouds, many Kentucky high school students, including those from Berea High School, Madison County ATC and Madison Southern High School, gathered on Eastern Kentucky University’s campus to compete in the Future Business Leader’s of America (FBLA) Region Six Leadership Conference.

The conference's theme was “Let the Magic Begin,” and it took a year to plan.

“It is really neat to study business in our classes, and then get to come to an event like this to apply the concepts,” said Jamie Orr, a Madison County ATC student.

According to Region Six FBLA Chair Paula Short, the conference hosts 33 schools, 35 advisors and 742 high school students.

During the single-day event, students competed in 72 event categories through business classes, Short added. Some categories included business ethics, client services, impromptu speaking, job interviews, social media campaigns, help desk and cyber security.

As with any competition, stress was high, but friendly faces, both old and new, made the day fun and exciting.

“Everyone has been really nice,” said Berea Community high school student Elvia Rojas, who competed in the social media campaign. “My classmates and I have even made friends outside of the Berea (competitors).”

Isaiah Owsley from Madison County ATC also agreed.

“It has been awesome,” he said. “We have gotten to meet so many new people and make new friends.”

For students such as Berea Community FBLA president Greg Schloemer, the event was a test not only of his business skills, but also in multitasking.

“I had to compete in my own competition (network design), while also ensuring that all of the other BCHS members made it to where they were supposed to be,” said Schloemer.

Jamey VanDyke saw the conference as a grand finale of sorts. As a Madison Southern high school senior, this will be one of her last FBLA conferences.

“It is kind of sad,” said VanDyke. “But I know I can do well. I got first place in my category last year.”

VanDyke, who competed in insurance and risk management, said that her category was required to take an online test, which they were given an hour to complete.

“I can’t say enough about the opportunities (events such as this one) provide,” said Kentucky FBLA State Advisor Connie Witt. “My own two kids have gone though the program and I just feel there are so many positives. Students learn commitment, professionalism, communication, leadership, even how to dress and speak professionally.”

Witt added that FBLA students are often provided scholarship opportunities and can even win money if they place in nationals.

However, if Madison ATC student Charles Simpson Jr. is correct, self-satisfaction just might be the biggest reward.

“I’ve learned more about myself than I ever have during this competition,” Simpson said.

Currently there are six FBLA regions in Kentucky, of which Madison County is in the sixth. At the conference, 21 students represented Madison County ATC, 20 for Madison Southern and 67 for Berea Community.

The top three contestants in each category will go on to compete at the State Leadership Conference in Louisville on April 18-20.

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