BRATTLEBORO -- Business students at the Windham Regional Career Center returned recently from the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) Vermont state competition in Burlington with some significant victories.

Twenty-four Career Center students competed against other students state-wide in a number of areas, including accounting, banking, business law, business ethics, finance, public speaking, economics, marketing and more. They placed in 47 events, bringing home a total of 62 awards, including 18 first place victories, nine second place wins and nine third place wins.

Their local chapter earned second place as the state’s overall outstanding chapter and first place in the March of Dimes Award. This year the chapter set a goal to solicit professional members in the community. They were all very pleased to find out that not only did they meet their goal, but they received an award for having the largest number of professional members in the state of Vermont.

FBLA is the largest and oldest business career student organization in the world, with nearly a quarter million high school members. They have been affiliated with the March of Dimes for nearly 40 years in a fund-raising capacity and the Career Center’s first place victory in this area was due in large part to contributions they collected through their local sales campaigns.

James Ferris, the Career Center’s FBLA president and a resident of Brattleboro, shared how much he enjoyed the competitive aspect of the conference and how it was beneficial for him to see how he and his chapter matched up with students across the state. FBLA secretary, Katelyn Donovan, Putney resident, shared that "the competitions were very intense. Student teams were given about 10 minutes to prepare for a challenge before presenting solutions to a panel of judges. I feel like we learned and perfected so many skills."

Barb Vinci, Career Center business teacher and one of the FBLA advisors, was especially pleased with the feedback she received about her students while at the conference. "Everyone told us how prepared, responsible and mature our students were. They’ve all grown from the experience and have been challenged to find out who they are and what they’re capable of doing. I found the whole experience to be extremely worthwhile."

Maribeth Cornell, Career Center business teacher and FBLA advisor, couldn’t have been more proud of her students’ performances at States. "I was very proud to see them win award after award, but I was more proud of who they have become as young, professional adults. They work well as a team, interact professionally with others, know how to make new friends, and consistently present themselves as kind and compassionate human beings." Cornell added that, "Once students get really involved with FBLA, they love it. They love the leadership development, the validation of their salesmanship skills, and that they see how what they are learning in school will be used in their futures. I just love watching their enthusiasm grow. Our local towns have a lot to be proud of in these future business leaders, and we appreciate all the support we get from local businesses."

Students who won first place honors are as follows: Dan Richardson in Accounting and Banking and Financial Systems; Casey Gould in Agribusiness and Global Business; James Ferris in Banking and Financial Systems and Business Presentation; Hunter Smith in Banking & Financial Systems; Dan Fooks in Business Communications; Eamon Martin in Business Law and Economics;

Also, Greg Wood in Business Math, Introduction to Business, and FBLA Principles and procedures; Matt Anderson in Business Presentation; Joshua Champney-Lester in Introduction to Information Technology; Molly Atamaniuk in Job Interview I; Brandi Butler in Job Interview II and Hospitality Management; Oliver Huestis in Management Decision Making; Katelyn Donovan in Public Speaking and Business Presentation; Casey Manning in Sports & Entertainment Management; Kayla Yurkevicz in Global Business; Maria Tevolini in Hospitality Management; Skyla Harvey in Management and Decision Making; and Marissa Semenovich in Sports & Entertainment Marketing. Other award winners included Jennifer Clark, Adam Richter, Sarah Kampner, Rebecaa Freeman, Jessica Fox, and Sofie Hansen.