A flurry of preparation will culminate in a first-ever event at Kinston High School on Saturday when the school and its Future Business Leaders of America club host the annual FBLA Regional Competitive Events. There, students from 12 counties will test business-related skills in hopes of advancing to state- and national-level competition.
For club members and advisor Gina Cousins, weeks of getting ready – rounding up community volunteers, devising schedules, planning meals, grading tests and judging entries in categories in which competition begins early – are expected to yield a big pay day for Kinston High.
“I am excited. It is a great opportunity for the students,” said Cousins, who teaches in the Career and Technical Education program. “I’m tickled we have so many people coming and have so many community members committed to helping us that day. Kinston High is known for sports, so now I’m glad we’re known for something scholastic in addition to sports. This looks good for us.”
Club president Brandon Stanley brought the event to Kinston High when he was named regional vice president at the state FBLA conference this past spring. At that meeting, Stanley placed third in the public speaking competition and fellow KHS student Amanda Lionelli placed fourth in Business Communication, earning them trips to the national conference in Atlanta last summer.
“We’ve been going to conferences since middle school,” Stanley said, acknowledging Lionelli as they and other club members sat in Cousins’ classroom Tuesday. “You see all that’s happening at these conferences, but you never see what’s happening behind the scenes. Now we’ve got it this year.”
The event is expected to draw nearly 140 students from 15 public schools in the state’s Central Region. They will compete in dozens of events and take part in several workshops. Much of the competition will happen Saturday – public speaking, job interview, memorization events like the FBLA creed and an encompassing competition called Future Business Leader, in which Standley will compete.
“Basically it’s like everything FBLA combined into one big test – an interview, resume, letter, FBLA history, calculating taxes and insurance. It pretty much combines all events into one,” he said.
Club members like Lionelli are also competing through online tests conducted prior to Saturday. On Tuesday, she was taking the business calculations test, which deals with taxes, deductions and insurance. Competitions in Computer Applications, Database Design, Spreadsheet Applications and Word Processing were also held earlier and the tests graded by KHS faculty. All winners will be announced Saturday.
Workshops will focus on dressing for success, social media etiquette and financial management, among other business-related topics.
The day, as with all aspects of FBLA, is geared toward preparing young people for the world of work.
“I’m in FBLA because I don’t know exactly what I want to do,” KHS club member Miari Blount said. “I know I want to go into some type of field dealing with numbers and mathematics but I’m not sure whether that’s in the medical field or business or something else. In FBLA, I actually get to learn life skills that later on will help me get a job and set me up for the future.”
In the photo below, FBLA club members and advisors at Kinston High School take a break from preparing for Saturday’s Regional Competitive Events.From left are Amanda Lionelli, advisor Gina Cousins, Brandon Standley, Ashley Avery, advisor Joshua Bridges and Miari Blount.
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