Three members of the Oxford Area High School chapter of Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) will be returning to the organization’s national conference, and this time they will be joined by three more chapter members from June 29 to July 2 in Nashville, Tennessee.
At the 63rd annual Pennsylvania Future Business Leaders of America State Leadership Conference held from April 7 to 9 in Hershey, the team of Jackie DiGiacomo, Hannah McComsey and Brianne Roper qualified to attend their second FBLA National Leadership Conference when their video earned first place in the first-ever Public Service Announcement competition. Last year, the seniors qualified for the national conference in Anaheim, California when they placed second in Pennsylvania for Digital Video Production.
Also heading to Nashville is the team of seniors Hannah Cummiskey, Alyssa Sniechoski and Chris Chavez, who earned third place in the state in the American Enterprise Project competition.
Twenty-eight Oxford students were among the approximately 3,800 FBLA chapter members from high schools across Pennsylvania who attended the state conference. The students qualified to attend and compete at the conference after placing first through fourth in competition at last fall’s Pennsylvania FBLA Region 9 Competition.
Also turning in excellent showings in state competition, where scoring is separated by percentage points, were senior Davin Axelsson who earned sixth place in Spreadsheet Applications; the team of senior Kyle Youssi, juniors Elaine Estes and Thomas Sumner and sophomores Emma Wilkinson and Joe Barr, seventh place for Parliamentary Procedure; seniors Lauren Keeler and Rachel Winand, ninth place for Desktop Publishing; and junior Kassidy England, ninth place for Community Service Project.
“Students who finish in the top 10 of any of the competitive categories are considered to be among the best high school business students in Pennsylvania,” said Kimberly Webber, FBLA chapter advisor.
For their competition, Jackie DiGiacomo, Hannah McComsey and Brianne Roper were required to create a 30-second PSA on the importance of exercise and healthy eating for high school and college students. “The video is a series of clips that are two or three seconds each, so it goes by very quickly in a rhythmic sequence,” said Hannah, who added that like the team’s entry in last year’s competition, the video featured several fellow students, each demonstrating activities essential to a healthy lifestyle.
The students believe that this year’s entry surpasses the video they showed at last year’s national conference, whose topic was FBLA Week. “We learned a lot from making the video we took to Anaheim,” said Hannah. “We realized that simplicity is really the best policy when it comes to videos.”
“Last year we had a really good idea but we did not necessarily have the right equipment to execute it,” said Brianne. “We also didn’t give ourselves enough time to make the video look the way we wanted it to look.”
As with last year’s entry, the students will work to tweak the PSA and to improve their presentation before a panel of judges. While they hope to advance further in national competition this year, they all agreed that just being at the conference was one of the highlights of their high school years.
“I think there is less of an emphasis on competition than at the state level,” said Jackie. “There are more things to do and see aside from the competitive events. At the state level you feel like you are in competing with every other school in Pennsylvania, which makes for a lot of pressure, but at nationals all the schools from Pennsylvania support each other and you make a lot of new friends. You can really enjoy the experience.”
For the American Enterprise Project competition, Hannah Cummiskey, who is chapter president, Alyssa Sniechoski, who is vice-president, and Chris Chavez, who is chapter historian, were required to inform Oxford Area School District students and community members about the goals of the American enterprise system. The team held informational sessions at the high school, Penn's Grove Middle School and Hopewell Elementary School which focused on different aspects of the system, including saving and managing money, consumer wants vs. needs, the role of corporations and the importance of small business in the Oxford community.
The group met with State Representative John Lawrence and State Senator Dominic Pileggi in order to gain the information necessary to effectively inform the community about the American enterprise system. The students researched community needs and statistics in order to choose which aspects of the system they would discuss with the community.
The group also created a Twitter account to adequately reach their target audience of young adults within the Oxford community and across the state. In November the students hosted a "Fancy Friday" event to celebrate American Enterprise Day.
Ms. Webber had nothing but praise for the project. "Hannah, Alyssa and Chris did a great job educating the community on the American enterprise system," she said. "Their information sessions were very effective. It has been pleasure to watch them take charge of this project throughout the school year."
The National Leadership Conference will bring together 5,000 FBLA chapter members from across the United States who will participate in a week of workshops, competitions, sightseeing and social events. All national qualifiers receive packets that include advice from past attendees on preparing for and making the most of the experience.
While in Nashville, the Oxford students hope to hear some live country music and do a lot of line dancing. “We’re all bringing along our boots and cowgirl hats!” said Brianne.