The Louisiana Tech College of Business hosted the First Louisiana Future Business Leaders of America Leadership Conference where high school FBLA members in District I and District II FBLA met together for the first time as a region rather than as individual districts to go head-to-head in 50 different competitive events at the high school level and 16 events at the middle school level.
District I schools cover Louisiana from the Texas/Arkansas line south to Mansfield and across to Arcadia, with District II schools covering from the Mississippi/Arkansas line down to Jena and back across to Simsboro.
As the District II vice president was from Ruston High School, and individuals from RHS worked to set up Louisiana Tech as new conference site in 2019-2020, RHS FBLA took the lead in working with Jessica George, executive director of student service and placements in Tech’s College of Business, and with Tasha Smith, also of the College of Business.
After weeks of planning, and multiple changes due to testing to allow schools not allowed to travel or attend in person to participate, Louisiana Tech saw 350-400 members and advisers attend the conference.
The opening session began with District II Vice President Matthew Daulton from RHS, and District I Vice President Bennie Ferguson from Homer High School, presiding. Joining them were four other Louisiana FBLA State Officers from District II: State Secretary Moriah Jackson (RHS), State Reporter Mattie Beaubouef from Weston High School, State Parliamentarian Peter Owen (RHS), and Middle Level President Joshua Daulton from Ruston Junior High School. Dr. Christopher Martin, Dean of the College of Business, welcomed the students during the opening ceremony.
After the opening ceremonies, with Ashley Cox, College of Business recruiting, gave FBLA members a speech on what Louisiana Tech has to offer students. Afterward, the Louisiana Phi-Beta Lamba’s (PBL – the college level of FBLA) President Joanna Ham, gave a speech on student life at Louisiana Tech. Joanna was the former president of RHS FBLA for 3 years and selected as the Louisiana FBLA Who’s Who in 2019.
FBLA members with interviews, speeches and demonstrations competed in the College of Business Building, while other members ventured to the Student Center for the FBLA exhibits and information booths. All five Louisiana Tech colleges set up information booths; both District VPs featured informational displays on FBLA in their districts; RHS FBLA set up three displays highlighting community service efforts for Little Helpers Pediatric Day Health Center and the Arkansas Children’s Hospital; three local RHS students set up displays of merchandise; and RHS FBLA also had two gift card giveaway tables for members to register to win one of 14 $25 gift cards (two gift cards were drawn for each grade represented (6-12). Members at the community service tables drew cards, pictures and more to send to the children of the Little Helper’s Pediatric Day Health Center as well as the children at the Arkansas Children’s’ Hospital.
Prior to lunch, Current Events team members took to the stage to compete in a question-and-answer session, with members eliminated as they missed questions. The last team standing was District II’s D’Arbonne Woods Charter School. Their adviser, Melease Colvin, was a student teacher mentored by the RHS adviser, Lloyd R. Bruner, whose team was the last team knocked out of the event. He simply responded “perhaps the student has become the master.” Immediately afterward, RHS FBLA officers conducted the gift card drawing and presentation to the 14 lucky members throughout the region.
The conference awards ceremony began right on schedule at 1 p.m., announcing all members who placed and the first ever Regional Champion in every event. Many middle level school chapters were limited due to travel restrictions and changes; however, Ruston Junior High School captured 11 of the 16 events, with I.A. Lewis, the only sixth grade middle level school competing in the state, claiming five regional champions.
At the secondary level, District II took home 31 of the 50 events, with District I taking home 19. Leading the way for District II was RHS with 20 regional champions, besting their own previous record when competing as only a district. Leading the way for District I was Saline High School, who claimed the second most regional championships at seven. Lincoln Parish schools alone won almost half of the total championships (24).
“The Louisiana Tech College of Business was honored to host this conference,” Jessica George said. “We believe the skills these students are honing through their involvement in FBLA will provide them with the solid foundation needed for success in a career in business. We hope that these students will join us in the College of Business after graduation to build upon that foundation and pursue a business degree.”
Louisiana Tech also provided six different scholarships totaling $5,500 to FBLA members in attendance, should they decide to attend the College of Business at Louisiana Tech. The first two scholarships were $1,000 scholarships awarded to both the Mr. Future Business winner (Jason Willis – RHS) and to the Ms. Future Business Leader winner (Mattie Beaubouef – Weston). The next three scholarships went to three regional juniors or seniors selected randomly from all regional champions. The $1,000 scholarship winners were Mason Scott (Business Calculations – Saline High School); Briley Kent, (Public Speaking – Ruston High School); and Jeremiah Gray (Securities and Investments – Saline). Louisiana Tech will select the remaining scholarship winner of $500 from a random drawing of members who entered the QR code drawing and announce it later.
Louisiana Tech coordinated all this year’s judges for events, which was a huge help to FBLA. They also provided many College of Business students to assist with information booths, timing events, and assisting any FBLA member as needed.
All the regional champions, members placing superior (top 15-20%), and select state-only event members now move on to the Louisiana FBLA State Conference held Mar. 27-29, 2022, in the CajunDome at the University of Louisiana – Lafayette. Anyone interested in participating as a judge in one of the many different presentation, speaking, role-play, or interview events is asked to please go to the following link and apply: https://lafbla.wufoo.com/forms/la-fbla-slc-judge-information-form-2022.