by Hope Culbreth
Recently, a small group of Dorman students traveled to Charleston, SC for a statewide Future Business Leader of America Competition. Each competitor strongly represented Dorman and the whole team is tremendously excited for their trip to Nationals in Baltimore, Maryland.
Each year the FBLA has three levels of competition: District, which is held here at Dorman, State, held at a conference center in North Charleston, and Nationals, held at various locations across the United States.
At District, the competition is fun and more relaxed than that of State or Nationals. There are two different ways to contend for a place at State and hopefully Nationals: (1) an objective test or (2) a presentation event.
For those of the competitors taking a test, there are many different categories to pre-select from. Tests range from subjects like Economics, Computer Problem Solving, and Accounting to subjects like Journalism, Business Law, and FBLA codes. The competitors in a testing event take a scantron test; the top five for each test are allowed to move on to State.
For those of the competitors participating in presentation events, there are also a wide range of topics. Many of these events must be pre-submitted, allowing judges to have a chance to prejudge the material. Each presentation event differs in parameters, time limits, and number of people allowed to compete. The top five contestants for each presentation also make it to State.
Fortunately, for Dorman, the nine students that vied for a spot at the State competition, all brought their A-game and succeeded onto State.
State Competition is slightly more rigorous than District. For starters, State is a two day event and begins early Friday morning and lasts until late Saturday night during the second week of March (March 16-17).
All nine Dorman Students plus one sponsor, Mrs. Moreno, pulled out of the Dorman lot ready to come home victorious on Sunday afternoon. The competitors traveled light and were eager to get into the groove of competition. Shortly after arriving to the convention center where State was to be held, the students wished luck to the very first competitors representing Dorman. After that first good luck, the rest of the day was smooth sailing for the others who competed on Friday.
As Friday is the first day of competition, there is an opening session late in the evening that introduces State, acknowledges prominent and note-worthy chapters, and recognises the charities the FBLA funds. Two charities that FBLA strongly supports and majorly donates to is the March of Dimes and the Shriners Hospital for Children in Greenville, SC.
Each year the SC-FBLA donates hundreds of Build-a-Bears to the Shriners Hospital for Children. The bears are collected from each school and lovingly displayed at the opening session for State. Every chapter of SC-FBLA congregates in a large ballroom to watch a presentation of the bears and get a chance to learn about the cause. Everyone is more than happy to talk about and proudly display the teddy bears that they come together to raise for such an amazing cause. Each student representing Dorman donated and helped buy bears for the donation.
In addition to the generous donations to Shriners Hospital for Children, the SC-FBLA focuses a large portion on helping support March of Dimes. There is a speaker who visits the opening session to talk about the lovely support and the donations given. Furthermore, a “blue jean dance for babies” where the students must donate $1 to enter the dance. With such large turnout every year to the convention and to the dance in particular, March of Dimes gets tremendous donations.
Long before the dance on Saturday night, the morning starts bright and early with workshops emphasising and developing skills for future business leaders. There are four separate workshop blocks and many fascinating courses to choose from. At the same time, there are final competitions occuring. Once those tests and workshop sessions are over, the chapter has a bit of free time before the awards banquet.
The evening is filled with a nervous and anticipatory atmosphere as the hundreds of SC-FBLA competitors sit on the edge of their seat to graciously hear their names called. All of Dorman’s students had this exact feeling as they eagerly awaited the verdict of whether or not they would move onto the next level, Nationals. Fortunately, for them, each and every one placed:
Respectively listed are the event, place, and competitor(s):
Business Plan 1st Place– Justin Keltner and Garrett Lloyd
Computer Problem Solving 1st Place– Andrew Martinez
Journalism 1st Place– Hope Culbreth
E-Business 2nd Place– Ahdiayah Horton and Nasra Deria
Accounting II 3rd Place– Shea Cole
Sales Presentation 3rd Place– Matthew Jones
Accounting I 4th Place– Matthew Jonasch
Excitement and anticipation fill each of the nine competitors as they prepare for Nationals this summer.