Success for FBLA smells like… chocolate?

Lilly Guenther, Copy Editor

On April 17-19, members of Bellefonte’s Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) attended the annual State Leadership Conference (SLC) held in Hershey. Thirty members of the Bellefonte chapter qualified for and competed in state-level events through online objective tests in various subjects, as well as performance events at the conference itself. 

Advisor of the FBLA at BAHS, Mrs. Rebecca Leitzell, helped to coordinate, as well as attended, the state conference for the tenth time this year. She compares the club’s success this year favorably to that of previous years. 

“This year we had the most students qualify to attend SLC. I think Bellefonte was well represented on stage at this year’s conference. I couldn’t be more proud of these students,” she said. 

This year, senior Davis Corman acted as President of FBLA at Bellefonte, as well as Vice President of Pennsylvania FBLA overall. He, along with senior Kate Rarrick, competed in the Data Analysis competitive event, earning fifth place in the state. The pair overcame both challenges and nerves to earn this placement. 

“Going into the performance, I was extremely nervous after nothing seemed to be going right. However, Kate and I persevered through our setbacks and gave an amazing performance that earned us fifth in the state,” he said. 

Kate and Davis will now have the opportunity to move forward to the National Leadership Competition held in Atlanta, Georgia this summer. 

Davis says that the thing he enjoyed most about the event was not just his personal success, but that of the Bellefonte chapter as a whole. 

“My favorite aspect of the conference was getting to see my own chapter there, 30 members strong. Seeing the involvement and dedication from the Bellefonte members was amazing and I am beyond grateful for the experiences this organization has given me,” he said. 

Several other students were in the top ten in their respective events. In addition, Davis received the “Who’s in PA FBLA” scholarship of $1,250, and senior Noah Aberegg, as an honorable mention for this award, received $350. 

It seems that SLC offers different things to everyone who goes. Junior Ashleigh Aukerman attended the conference for the second time this year, earning tenth place in the Impromptu Speaking event. She feels that this gives students an opportunity to build confidence and work with others. 

“I feel like it helps [students] to gain confidence in themselves and their work. It also teaches [students] to network and get to know people, maybe crawl out of their shell if they are shy,” she said. 

From the perspective of a teacher, Mrs. Leitzell agrees with this sentiment. 

“There are so many ways that SLC benefits members of FBLA. One, of course, is the confidence that students gain from performing in front of students and judges from around the state. Another is from the networking and connections that are gained through the event,” she said.

Those who attend report that, although the conference is a place of business, it can also be a lot of fun. Mrs. Leitzell attests to this. 

“One of my favorite things about SLC is the laughter and fun we have together as a group. I think this event helps form relationships between students that we don’t always see happen in the classroom,” she said. 

As a senior member and officer of FBLA, Davis feels that the club and conference are an opportunity for learning and personal growth that other students should take advantage of. 

“SLC gave me, along with 5,000 other members, the opportunity to network, learn, and grow, not only in the business world, but also as individuals. It is an amazing experience that I would absolutely recommend to everyone,” he said.