By Shirley Shuman
Eighteen FBLA members from both the high school and the middle school attended the FBLA National Leadership Conference at the Atlanta World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia June 29-30. BCHS Advisor Sarah Dennison’s group numbered eight, and BCMS Advisor Anita Lambert’s group included 10. Both advisors were pleased with what the students experienced during their trip.
Each student competed in one event, and they also spent some time in workshops during the conference. None of the Braxton students placed in their events, although Addison Grindo did make the top 14 in Job Interview. Only the top 10 were recognized, however. Advisor Dennison mentioned that Grindo and only one other West Virginia student made the top 14 in any event.
Braxton County High students who competed in the conference included Kaylee Criner, Braelyn Criner, Addison Grindo, Devin Brown, Kaiden Perkins, Robert Myers, Melody Jarrell, and Cooper Belknap.
To illustrate the difficulty of the competitions, BCMS advisor Lambert pointed out the conference included 14,000. None of her students earned any awards, but she feels strongly that the conference was highly worthwhile. “To begin, my students had to raise $7,000 just to make the trip,” she said, “and they learned a lot from that. They certainly learned about entrepreneurship and gained business-related skills. In addition, they studied to prepare for their events, and they also had to dress professionally,” she said. In addition, the students were exposed to several venues the likes of which they had never experienced.
Attendees from Braxton County Middle School were Joselyn Wittner-Napier, Alexis Dehaven, Alexis Sartin, Bayleah Given, Emily Whitney, Mackinzey Anderson, Tyler Marsh, Madison Bonnett, Owen Belknap, and Riley Miller.
Advisor Dennison, agreeing with the value of the trip and the conference, mentioned that, in addition to their event competitions and workshops, “They browsed the marketplace.” She also said that all the students went to the Georgia Aquarium on the special night reserved for the FBLA conference attendees. They toured the Coca Cola Museum and learned the history of that product and enjoyed Atlanta City Park. Students also “got to experience eating in high-end restaurants, too,” she noted.
Lambert mentioned one thing which her students highly enjoyed. “Each attendee was given five pins that represented their states or countries. They made a game of trying to obtain, through trading and other means, the most pins from other areas,” she said. “One of my boys got a pin from a China, and someone actually paid him $50 for it. He sold two others for less money, but in doing all of this, students learned the theory of supply and demand,” she added.
Even though no Braxton student —actually no West Virginia student—won in the conference competition, both Sarah Dennison and Anita Lambert are convinced that their students all benefitted greatly from the two-day experience.