By Lloyd R. Bruner
The past few years, the Simsboro High School’s Future Business Leaders of America chapter took time off, as did many, due to COVID-19, and because its primary adviser Kaitlyn Mercer, had to take time off to claim victory in her second battle against cancer. Mercer was unsure if students would want to participate in FBLA again and concerned about the changes in FBLA. After discussing it with other advisers and her students, she decided that FBLA would indeed return. Mercer was able to get the chapter reinstated after much effort, but then faced a bigger challenge – her young chapter would be competing against schools in District I and District II at a regional conference rather than against just District II – the two districts that are arguably the best chapters in the state. Mercer had to work quickly to prepare her chapter to meet the best.
Last month, SHS FBLA officially returned to competition at the Louisiana FBLA Northeast Regional Conference at Louisiana Tech University. They attended the opening session and visited many booths organized by Ruston High School.
“I loved the incense table (Lux) set up by RHS FBLA member Alham Mohamed, and the diversity at the conference,” Mercer said. “Everyone felt that they belonged – and they did.”
When they returned for the RHS FBLA gift card drawing, she knew things were looking up as an SHS FBLA member won a gift card in each grade level. After lunch, students made their way back to Howard Auditorium to hear the results of the competition.
The results were worth the wait for the 17 members competing in two different events, as SHS had a competitor place in an amazing 17 of 18 events entered. Mercer and her students were proud to hear “Simsboro” a total of 16 times as the awards for excellent were announced. Even more impressive, SHS FBLA had a total of 16 superior ratings that qualified for state. SHS FBLA ended the day 32 for 34 on members recognized as excellent or superior – an obviously successful return to competition.
Mercer said she was proud of her members’ behavior, spirit and results.
“Overall, (the students) loved the competition and that they were able to network with students from a variety of schools in a variety of topics,” she said. “They loved doing this while also being able to interact with college students and see what it’s like to ‘go to college’ as they were able to eat on campus, do a campus tour and observe real-life college classes in the College of Business building.”
Mercer and Simsboro FBLA now prepare for the state conference. Mercer said they are ready to take it up another notch and gain more experience for the future.
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