It was a grand showing for a three-member team of Great Bend High School Future Business Leaders of America at the recent National Leadership Conference in Anaheim, Calif.
The team of Jami McVay, Sarah Niederee and Sara McAfee brought home a fourth-place national award in the Business Financial Plan event. The bronze medalists were recognized for their knowledge and skills in developing a complete financial plan for a business venture.
It was only the second time in school history that students placed at the national level.
“Our students competed against some of most committed students in the nation,” said Cody Lee, GBHS business teacher and adviser.
“I am overwhelmed and proud of their accomplishments. Just qualifying for the national competition is an honor in itself,” Lee said.
Not everyone brought home hardware, but all nine members attending the national conference returned home as winners.
“Some of our students made this commitment a year ago,” Lee explained. “They set a goal and went for it. That’s what it takes to compete at that level.
“I hope their success encourages others to join FBLA and devote themselves to the organization,” she said. “They will truly grow as individuals if they can do that. The students and the organization do some very impressive things.”
Conference participants from around the country and the world were in attendance for the NLC and the FBLA-PBL Institute for Leaders. Sarah Niederee and Zachary Reynolds participated as officers at the state level. Niederee is the state president and Reynolds is the District V vice president.
The team of Greg Burley, Colton Lagerman and Alec Witt were finalists in their event of E-Business, an event in which students develop proficiency in the creation and design of Web commerce sites.
Other competitors included Alejo Carbajal in Healthcare Administration, and Grant Harris in Computer Problem Solving.
“Nationals really showed me that hard work and dedication really do lead to success,” said Witt, GBHS FBLA president. “The success we received at nationals was well worth all our hard work.”
“The 2013 National Leadership Conference has gotten me very excited for the upcoming FBLA/School year,” noted Niederee, GBHS marketing manager and Kansas FBLA president.
“Every speaker, workshop presenter and even fellow FBLA members from across the nation taught me things that I hope to incorporate, not only at Great Bend High School, but also for Kansas FBLA,” Niederee said.
“Through my competitive group event, I have gained many skills that I wouldn’t have learned just being in a classroom. The skills could help in starting my own business, even as a high schooler,” she said.
“FBLA is not only for students who wish to pursue a business career,” she said. “All professions require a work in some form of business, so gaining basic business skills is a necessity in my eyes.
“I hope to grow even further in FBLA by running for a national office next year, which will get my school even more involved at the national level,” Niederee said.
One of Lee’s former students and GBHS graduate Kirsten Zamarripa, Emporia State University senior, also competed.
Zamarripa earned an eighth-place national finish in Desktop Publishing and made the finals in her team event, Business Presentation. She plans to graduate from Emporia State University this coming year with a Bachelor of Science degree in business education.
“It’s fun to see students go on and compete at the college level,” Lee said. “Kirsten was an officer in FBLA her senior year at Great Bend High School. It’s rewarding to see her love of the organization continue in her college life.”
“The GBHS FBLA chapter would like to thank the community members, parents, teachers and local businesses for their support in helping us achieve our goals at the national competition,” Witt said.