MV FBLA competes in 69th annual Southern Area Conference

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Cam Meyer, Sports Editor

On January 5, MV’s FBLA Chapter competed in the sixty-ninth Annual Southern Area Conference at SIU-C.

“The 69th annual Southern Area conference is the first in-person area conference since my freshman year. To be able to take the presidential roles was an outstanding accomplishment for myself. It has been an honor to serve the southern area and represent each and every member at the local, area, state, and national levels of FBLA,” stated Southern Area President Katie Bach, ‘23.

The day started with our opening sessions, covering the call to order, with Mount Vernon’s own Katie Bach, pledges, a welcome to SIU-Carbondale by Dr. Marc Morris, Dean, SIU-C College of Business & Analytics, greetings from Illinois FBLA Collegiate Division and Illinois State FBLA President Yash Sharma, State President, Warren Township, Chapter roll call and minutes, Treasurer’s report by our own Caitlyn Bernard, and finally, new business.

Attendees moved on to hearing introductions of candidates and campaign speeches, where Nolan Armstrong, ‘24, and Mazie Eilerts, ‘25, ran for the ranks of Vice President and Treasurer

“It´s a great stepping stone to becoming a better leader, getting to help set up the Southern Area Conference next year is exciting and will be an awesome experience. Giving a speech in front of 500 people wasn´t as bad as I thought, and it was fun to campaign with my board and candy even though I was uncontested. Getting to meet other kids in FBLA from other schools near us was my favorite part since it’s always interesting. SIU is also a place with lots of food options, so that´s another reason I love SAC. It is an honor to represent MV and the local chapter, as well as the members and advisers who have supported me,” Armstrong said.

“I am very honored and so happy that everyone thought I would be a great choice. I really hope I can inspire people to do things like this and not be so nervous about talking in front of large crowds,” stated Eilerts.

After the opening session, members took part in presentation events went to their respective rooms to compete, and others who took a test earlier in the year attended a motivational leadership workshop from Mr. Ryan Stanford.

Mr. Stanford covered ways to build yourself and others while enjoying life, as well as having a direction and how to stay on it, during his workshop speech, leaving a lasting impression on the ones attending.

After completing all presentation events, we moved on to our closing session.

During said session, awards were presented to members who placed in the top three of their respective events, Chapters battled in an FBLA-styled trivia contest, and most importantly, the installation of the 2023-2024 FBLA Area Officers took place.

“MVTHS has two outgoing 2022-2023 Southern Area officers: Katie Bach, SAC President, and Caitlyn Bernard, SAC Treasurer. They played a large role in preparing for and conducting the 2023 conference. We are very proud of Nolan Armstrong and Mazie Eilerts who ran for and won the 2023-2024 offices of SAC Vice President and Treasurer, respectively. They both set up campaign booths at the conference and gave candidate speeches during the main session. They will be involved with the planning and running of the 2024 Southern Area Conference. These officer roles will provide them an excellent opportunity to continue building their leadership skills,” stated FBLA Advisor Mrs. Julie Hayes.

Congratulations to Armstrong and Eilerts for being elected as the 2023-24 FBLA Southern Area Vice President and Treasurer.  The following students won awards in their competitive events: 1st Place:  Joseph Jones, American Enterprise; Nolan Armstrong & Cam Meyer, Broadcast Journalism; Jacob Smith, Business Ethics; Zuri Das, Introduction to Business Communication; McKenzie Hughes, Introduction to Business Procedures; Mazie Eilerts, Introduction to Public Speaking; Brylie Brands, Job Interview. 2nd Place: Kylee Halbin: Introduction to Business Communication; Sierra Bird Horton: Client Service; Katie Bach: Entrepreneurship; Makenly Miller & Kaylie Ratcliff, Hospitality & Event Management; Ellie Hall, Isabella Stanford, Clover Tinsley: Introduction to Business Presentation; Introduction to Event Planning: Alistair Clodi, Paige Powers, Allie Sweeten; Julia Jee, Amelia Lamont: Introduction to Social Media Strategy; Caitlyn Bernard: Social Media Strategies. 3rd Place: Maya Owen, Human Resource Management; Kenzie Bach: Introduction to FBLA; Logan Armstrong: Introduction to Marketing Concepts.

“The conference was a major success. MVTHS did a great job at competing as we had several top 3 placements. I am excited to see the increased state involvement and look forward to future competition,” stated Jude Erasmus, ‘23.

After this conference, all members who competed in Area now look forward to the FBLA State Leadership Conference, held in April.

“The Southern Area Conference was a precursor to the FBLA State Leadership Conference that will be held in Springfield, IL, on April 14-15, 2023. Members that place in the top 4 of their event at State will qualify to compete at the FBLA National Leadership Conference held in Atlanta, GA, this summer,” stated Ms. Hayes.