By Cynthia Toner
Special to The SUN
Nineteen Pagosa Springs High School Future Business Leaders of America members traveled to Vail, Colo., on April 20 to attend the three-day FBLA State Leadership Conference where they competed with nearly 3,000 other FBLA students from across the state.
Our local FBLA chapter received six separate awards at the conference, including a national qualifier.
Miah Pitcher is only the second freshmen in the last 10 years to qualify for the national competition. She placed second in Public Speaking I, which involved preparing and delivering a live speech in front of a panel of judges. Miah will be representing Pagosa Springs High School at the National Leadership Conference in Anaheim, Calif., this summer.
In other competitive events, the team of Isaiah Thompson and Brannon Harbur received eighth place in Business Ethics; Ryan McInnis received eighth place in Impromptu Speaking and chapter president Gabby Pajak placed third in Future Business Leader. In addition, the Pagosa Springs FBLA chapter received a Peak I achievement award, accepted by Megan Davey.
This year’s theme was “Sparking Success: Celebrating 50 Years of FBLA.”
The keynote speaker this year was Yahya Bakka. His FBLA conference biography reads as a youth-friendly, empowering leader, “who has stunned audiences from all over the country with his contagious energy, down to earth personality and goofy humor. He has a unique ability to relate to students with issues that are relevant to their lives.” He is the author of “The Ultimate Guide to Teen Life,” is a certified Strategic Interventionist and has been a featured speaker at Harvard University and various nationally recognized conferences and organizations.
Attending from Pagosa Springs High School were Kylee Bonnell and Travis Loran competing in Accounting I, Gabby Pajak (Future Business Leader), Miah Pitcher (Public Speaking I) Kylie Johnson and Elle McGinn (Global Business Team I), Brooke Bowdridge and Jacqueline Garcia (Global Business — Team 2), Rose Graveson (Business Communications), Katie Laverty, Toni Stoll and Johanna Laverty (Community Service Project), Megan Davey(PEAK I Award), Isaiah Thompson and Brannon Harbur (Business Ethics), Dean Hampton (Marketing), Ryan McInnis (Impromptu Speaking), Mason Brown (Cyber Security) and Garek Erskine (Marketing). Advisors Cynthia Toner and Sally Capistrant accompanied the students.