A Claysburg-Kimmel student placed second and two teams of his fellow students placed third and ninth in their respective competitions during the Future Business Leaders of America National Leadership Conference in San Antonio, Texas, from June 27 to July 3.
The chapter was one of three represented at the national conference, with qualifiers also traveling from Chestnut Ridge and Northern Bedford chapters.
Michael Baker, son of Michael and Cheryl Baker of Queen, placed second in the nation in the Public Speaking event. He will be a senior this coming school year at Claysburg-Kimmel.
Claysburg-Kimmel’s team competing in Business Financial Plan placed third in the country. The team members were Canaan Burket, son of Craig and Darla Burket of Imler; Hayley Jenkins, daughter of Robert and Christina Jenkins of East Freedom; and Benjamin Weiland, son of Michael and Bernadette Weiland of Imler.
The high school’s Broadcast Journalism team took ninth place in the U.S. The team members were Mackenzie Clemens, daughter of Adam and Kimberly Clemens of Claysburg; Kyle Glass, son of Dave and Jodi Glass of Imler; and Jocelyn Shultz, daughter of Dan and Amy Shultz of East Freedom.
Baker also represented the state of Pennsylvania as its FBLA secretary, having been elected to the state officer position at the State Leadership Conference in April.
Emily Claar, daughter of Shawn and Christina Claar of Imler, was recognized in the “Parade of States” as the Who’s Who in FBLA recipient for Pennsylvania. She was also recognized for earning her way to the national leadership conference all four years. She received the FBLA Distinguished Business Leader scholarship. She will be attending St. Francis University this fall majoring in physician assistant studies.
Sixteen students from Chestnut Ridge School District qualified for nationals, also. No further information was available from the chapter as of Friday.
Northern Bedford County junior Abby Mickle also earned a spot at the national conference, competing in Introduction to Business Communications, for which she won the state in April.
Baker said in a phone interview Friday that the speech he delivered twice to the conference — once for preliminaries and again for the finals — centered around the late co-founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, and how FBLA’s goals were characterized in Jobs and in Baker, himself.
Baker said he was very nervous before the performance when he and two other finalists were on stage delivering their final addresses to the large audience.
After the speech was over, Baker said, “I felt so amazing in that room at the end. It felt that every eye was on me. Everyone was paying attention to the speech and it felt so good to finish it.”
He said he intertwined in his speech the influence FBLA and adviser Steve Walter have been for him.
Baker called Walter “an enormous role model to us and our chapter.” The chapter also was honored as a Gold Seal Chapter for the seventh consecutive year and was recognized as one of the Outstanding Chapters in the nation.
Baker said he is looking forward to the Claysburg-Kimmel chapter’s next year in which he will serve as state secretary.
Last year, the chapter conducted a project called “Celebrating Seniors: Thanks for the Memories.”
“That was an amazing experience and we’re hoping to do a project similar to that as well as our personal competitive projects.”
Walter said it’s a rigorous process for FBLA member to qualify for nationals. They have to get through regional and state competitions.
“It’s been a very successful year for our chapter. Many have received individual honors and awards on the state and national levels. We set a new record in raising money for our state project, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, had a very successful chapter community service project, Celebrating Seniors, and set a record for the number of members attending and placing at states and nationals. Finally, we are so thankful for all of the community support this year to provide these kids with so many opportunities and memories.”
Abby Mickle, daughter of Chad and Trisha Mickle of Woodbury, said though she didn’t place, the experience allowed her to meet other other FBLA members from across the country.
“The Pennsylvania FBLA had many things planned for us to do while in Texas, and there was a lot of free time for fun with friends,” Mickle said.
“Overall, it was an extraordinary conference,” Mickle said. “I was able to experience the Southern culture of San Antonio and explore the city.” She said she learned line-dancing, enjoyed local cuisine “and had opportunities that I wouldn’t have without FBLA. I made lasting memories, and I hope to continue to make more in the future of my FBLA career.”
She said she participated in a testing event but wants to enter a “performance” project — such as public speaking — next year.
“I now feel more confident and ready to compete in a performance event next year. I am surprised at how FBLA has challenged me to become more open and willing to try new things. It helps me be a better version of myself,” she said.