Learning to balance school and extracurricular activities can be challenging for many students.
Somehow South Callaway High School student Chris Dzurick has managed to juggle being a national officer in Future Business Leaders of America, a student council member, a Missouri's Youth Adult Alliance member and a part-time employee at Fulton Cinema 8, while still becoming valedictorian.
Among his other responsibilities, Dzurick also travels frequently to district, state and out-of-state FBLA events.
In July 2010, he was elected as the FBLA north central region vice president, an office that keeps him in communication with FBLA presidents of eight states.
The senior and 25 of his classmates from South Callaway attended a district conference at Lincoln University in Jefferson City on Friday. At the conference, Dzurick competed in events such as entrepreneurship, which his team won first place in. He also gave a workshop on how to be an FBLA officer.
Tuesday it was announced that Dzurick will travel to Atlanta on April 14 as one of 252 high school students in the nation to compete for a 2011 Coca-Cola Scholarship.
The finalists will interview with a national selection committee, tour local landmarks and engage in various activities including a community service project. Dzurick could win a $10,000 or $20,000 scholarship toward his college education.
Dzurick plans to attend Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau in the fall and major in marketing management. The 18-year-old said it was through FBLA that he "found a love of marketing."
He earned a full-ride governor's scholarship to attend SEMO through his ACT score. The teen said he hopes to work for a marketing firm one day in a bigger city such as St. Louis.
"It's still in Missouri, but it's a completely unique experience that's still close to family," he said.
Jasmine Foster, business education teacher and FBLA adviser at South Callaway, said Dzurick is a dedicated student and FBLA member who "does a great job keeping up" with all his responsibilities.
"He is very determined to reach the goals he is after," Foster said.
She said when Dzurick won the national FBLA office, the first time a student from the South Callaway chapter has done so, it was a "very exciting" day.
"It was probably my proudest moment as an FBLA adviser," Foster said.
Dzurick said he was a nervous wreck waiting for the moment when the winners were finally announced at the National Leadership Conference held in Nashville, Tenn.
"It really hits when you're there with 3,000 other people competing," he said.
"For one of the officers to be from little Mokane is really exciting," said Polly Burre, FBLA co-adviser.
Burre has had Dzurick in her business classes since he started as a freshman.
"Any challenge you put before him, he goes for it. He's not afraid to try new things," she said.
Dzurick is also among area community members who were chosen to speak to Dr. Brenda Dann-Messier, assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, on Feb. 22 at the Governor's Building in Jefferson City. Burre said Dzurick's speech will be on the importance of career and technology education.
The teen admits he used to be shy, timid and afraid of public speaking when he first joined FBLA as a freshman. He said he can now speak in front of a large crowd without any trouble.
"(FBLA) is definitely an organization to get involved in," he said.