Lansing FBLA team among nation’s best
Just in its second year of competition, the Future Business Leaders of America chapter at Lansing High School can boast that one of its teams placed in the top 10 at the national conference.
Seniors Stephen Fischer and Sean Wooley, along with junior Matt Humphries, competing as a team in business ethics, took sixth place at the FBLA national conference, June 29-July 3, in Nashville, Tenn.
Senior Marcus Bean, the other LHS student who qualified for nationals, competed in networking concepts but did not finish in the top 10.
They qualified by earning top spots in March at the FBLA state competition.
Wooley said he and his teammates were confident but somewhat intimidated as the business ethics competition began at nationals.
"We were going up against the best in the nation," he said, "but then we said, 'Hey, we're among the best in the nation!"
Humphries said the teams were sequestered in the same room for the competition. One by one, each team was led to another room, where they were given a hypothetical business situation that involved a ethical dilemma. The team then was given 20 minutes to come up with a solution to the dilemma and present it to a panel of judges, who were able to ask questions about the solution.
The preliminary round was tense, Wooley said, with the LHS team having to wait sequestered for three hours before being called to compete. When they finished, Wooley and Fischer decided they'd go play a round of glow-in-the-dark miniature golf at their hotel.
"That's when Matt found us and said, 'I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is they posted the finals; the bad news is we've got to get up early in the morning,'" Wooley said.
The team had finished among the top 15 and was headed to the championship round.
In that second round, Wooley said, the LHS team members didn't have to wait long before they were called.
They were given a scenario in which a fellow employee had said her supervisor had been sexually harassing her. The company required all situations of sexual harassment be reported to human resources, but the worker didn't want to report her supervisor; she just wanted to get it off her chest.
The team was asked what would they do in such a situation and why.
"We said we would inform human resources," Humphries said. "Harassment is harassment, and must be taken care of immediately to create a safe working environment for everyone involved."
To Wooley, the team had nailed its presentation.
"We felt extremely good about it," he said.
Later that day, when the top 10 teams were called, the Lansing squad found out it had earned a sixth-place finish out of the field of 33 teams in the competition.
Sue Lednicky, a business teacher at the high school and FBLA sponsor, said she was proud of the LHS team.
"They did an awesome job," Lednicky told the Lansing School Board this week.
Humphries said the hours of work the team put in throughout the school year was worth the effort.
"It was definitely worth the work just to go to nationals," he said. "We made a lot of good contacts and met some national officers."
The lone LHS underclassman to qualify for nationals, Humphries will be able to talk about his experiences plenty during the coming school year. He's already been elected president of the LHS FBLA chapter for 2006-07.
"We lost a large senior class this year," he said, noting recruitment of a strong membership is among his top priorities.
Wooley and Fischer both graduated in May.