Dozens of students from both of Fort Mill’s high schools earned high marks at a state-level business competition and will get a chance to take the national stage this summer.
Twenty five students from Nation Ford High School’s Future Business Leaders of America club placed in the top four in their events in Charleston March 12. Fort Mill High School has 21 FBLA students who qualified for nationals.
Nation Ford FBLA advisor Lynn Marsh said students and worked tirelessly to prepare.
“They’re great kids, they do work hard and they’re a good group,” she said.
Upward of 10,000 FBLA students will swarm Atlanta in June for the organization’s national competition. There are more than a dozen competitive events that range from public speaking to global business strategy and even health care administration. The local students have put a lot of work into getting ready for both state and national competitions.
“It’s really truly taking what they’ve learned in the classroom and challenging them,” Marsh said.
During their prep time, students learn about teamwork, prioritizing and pushing themselves to the highest level. Marsh said some of the team’s success can be attributed to the greater NaFo community. She often seeks out other teachers in various fields of expertise to help tutor the competitors, Marsh said.
“They say it takes a village to raise a kid, and that’s kind of how it goes around here,” she said.
Marsh said for the adults involved, it’s really a labor of love. While many other states give lottery money to fund their FBLA trips, she said South Carolina doesn’t.
“All of us in South Carolina are doing it because we love the kids and it needs to be done,” “It’s an experience they need to have and we are fundraising right alongside the kids,” she said.
The fundraising will be intense. Students will have to pay up to $650 dollars to attend national competition. But if they can pay their way, it will be worth it. Local students will go up against schools not just from the 50 states, but from Department of Defense schools overseas and even students from the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The top 10 students will receive a trophy at nationals. Some will even walk away with cash, depending on how high they place.
It’s also a great resume builder.
“It’s a great way to talk about something they’ve done that was a really big accomplishment,” Marsh said.
But all the hard work does come with some reward. Marsh said she plans on taking her students to enjoy all the fun in Atlanta including the aquarium, the zoo and maybe even a Braves baseball game.
“They learn a lot and they play a lot, we call it family time,” she said.
Katie Rutland: firstname.lastname@example.org
Heading to Atlanta
The following students qualified for national competition.
From Nation Ford High School: Drew Reynolds, Wes Altman, Jaysa Addison, Abbie Nance, Alanna O'Brien, Meredith Hudgins, Lynn Domanski, Alexis Wood, Amy Linh, Terrell Stauffer, Taylor Queen, Cutler Arbon, Chris Walker, Samuel Johnson, Parker Cope, Daniel Torre, Jordan Sawyer, Carlie Nance, Sabah Bhamani, Terence Devone, Jacob Siebert, Christina Ferrell, Lili Martinez, Cleve Fisher and Chase Portello.
From Fort Mill High School: Nicholas Bellof, Jake Bukuts, Ania Rzepka, Olivia Young, Emily Ambrose, Madison Cornwell, Treyton FitzMorris, Taylor Hennessy, Zoe Kuhlkin, Camden Miller, Regan Willis, Connor Young, Chase Adamek, Will Beachum, Rebecca Fanta, Keith Hammock, Emily Potts, Kristina Wang, Ryann Katz, Jonny Lee and Jenna Pehowski.