The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)


March 28, 2012

West Stanly High School continues success at state FBLA competition

Wednesday, March 28, 2012 — West Stanly High School’s Future Business Leaders of America have become accustomed to performing well at their state competition.

Since 2001, they’ve had at least one person qualify for the national conference by placing in the top three in either an individual or team event and they’ve been recognized as one of the top chapters in the state by being named a “Gold Seal Chapter” every year since then. However, even the students and their adviser were a bit surprised by the success enjoyed at this year’s conference.

This year, 16 members attended the 58th annual State Leadership Confer-ence in Greensboro, joining more than 1,800 students representing more than 200 high school FBLA chapters from across North Carolina. As usual, West Stanly performed well in both individual, team and chapter events.

Senior Lee Mauldin finished as a top 10 finalist for Business Plan Project and freshman Matthew Swain was a top 10 finalist in Intro to Business Communica-tions.  

A third place finish was awarded for the Local Chapter Business Report. All officers contributed to the report, which chronicles all activities West Stanly FBLA was involved in for the year, but president Evin Burleson pulled the report together and was responsible for the final version. Also winning third place was Schyler Martin and Sarah Little with their Community Service Pro-ject. Martin and Little put together a tutoring program for local elementary school students as their project. Finally, freshman Eli Hopkins won third place in Business Math, and that finish qualified him to compete at the national conference this summer in San Antonio, Texas.

Several other students also earned the right to compete at nationals this summer. The American Enterprise Project, headed up by Josh Swain, Beth Slater and John Almond won first place, beating out last year’s top finisher.

For their project, these students conducted research on the American Enterprise system and taught their results to West Stanly Middle School students. Senior Beth Slater was visibly nervous in front of the crowd of almost 2,000, but was excited when they announced West Stanly as winners.

“My heart sang like a bird and all I wanted to do was dance,” Slater said.

Also winning first place was Sarah Hart and Zac Brown for “Partnership with Business.” Hart and Brown partnered up with Extreme Ice Center in Indian Trail, helping with a weekend activity there while learning about the inside operations of a recreational center.

Josh Swain was also recognized as the NCBEA Student of Service Award winner.

Brandon McCandliss and Jesse Swink won first place in Digital Video Production. They had to create a video suited for teenagers on the dangers of texting while driving, then present the video and explain how it was made to a panel of judges.

“It was amazing. I wanted to jump around and shout but all I could do was smile like crazy when they called our name,” said junior Jesse Swink.

As a club, West Stanly was awarded “Gold Seal Chapter” as one of the top chapters in the state, which they have been recognized for each year for the last 11 years.

This year only four schools received that award. Finally, to end an incredible weekend of competition and camaraderie, West Stanly was recognized as the 2011-2012 North Carolina FBLA Chapter of the Year.

This award is given to the single most outstanding chapter in the state and is awarded based on the contributions, success and activities of the chapter for the past year.

“I feel like all of our work paid off. Receiving this honor was one of the greatest experiences of my high school career,” Burleson said.

“I’m so proud of these kids,” adviser John Thompson said, “and not just for the awards. The fact that the competitors put so much time and effort into their projects and preparing for their events is great and the whole group carried themselves with class and professionalism. And I can’t say enough about Evin. The leadership he provided as president and the sheer amount of time he put into this club all year has been amazing.”

Next up for West Stanly FBLA is to prepare for nationals. Competitors will be studying, improving their reports and projects and practicing their presentations as they get ready for San Antonio. They are also holding a golf tournament on April 20 to raise money to help with the cost of the trip to nationals.

“We have local business people who have helped us both with buying sponsorships for the golf tournament and by helping prepare our students for competition. Without their help we wouldn’t be nearly as successful, so it’s great that we can bring back some awards to Stanly County,” Burleson said.

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