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Fulton FBLA teams prep for nationals

Fulton FBLA teams prep for nationals

June 15th, 2017 by Helen Wilbers in Local News

Members of the Fulton High School varsity tennis team were recognized at Wednesday's Board of Education meeting, including, from left Haydon Windsor, Justin Adams, Garrett Johnson and John Adams. Windsor and Adams were also FBLA presenters that evening.

Photo by Helen Wilbers /Fulton Sun.

It's about 1,760 miles from Fulton High School to Anaheim, California, and four students are preparing to make the trek.

This year, six Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) participants — including two teams — qualified for the national competition. Two can't attend due to other commitments, but during Wednesday evening's Fulton Board of Education meeting, the other four practiced their presentations in front of the board.

"They're going to practice and work hard," FBLA advisor Gina McLachlan said.

The students know it's crunch time.

"You're not seeing us as sharp as we were (at State)," Gentry Totta said. "We'll have this memorized."

She and her teammate Justin Adams are competing in the business ethics category. They have to defend a position on the matter of employers screening applicants' social media during the hiring process. Then, they have to do something much harder: stand up and present that opinion to a panel of judges.

"We practiced so much over spring break," Adams said.

"Actually, we practiced every day for three weeks," Totta said.

For Totta, this is a comeback. She competed in the same category last year, but placed a little too low at State to qualify.

Their well-reasoned position drew praise from the school board, but they'll have a tougher crowd to face in Anaheim. According to McLachlan, there are more than 100 competitors in their category, and three judges will hear 14 presentations in a day.

"I'm thinking about how we get them to stand out," McLachlan said.

If the other national-qualifying team had gone with their first idea, they would definitely have stood out, but perhaps not quite in the right way.

"Brendan (Dungan's) first idea was to buy a little island in the Lake of the Ozarks and turn it into a boat drive-in, like a Sonic," teammate Gabe Luebbert said. "That idea lasted about two minutes."

He, Dungan and Haydon Windsor competed in the business plan category, inventing and pitching a business venture to the judges. Luebbert and Windsor are taking the idea they settled on to nationals.

They brainstormed a solar panel company to launch in the Lake of the Ozarks area, because there's little competition in the area.

"We spent a lot of hours at the school," Luebbert said. "Now how many hours we were actually working on (the plan) maybe a half or a third of it? At least 20 to 30 hours."

McLachlan said it was probably a lot more than that. She's proud of how much work her teams have put in.

"It's not all about the competition," she said.

The teams will also attend talks about topics like leadership, and make time for some fun as well.