FBLA team places fourth
Two Lansing High students win big at nationals
Just because something isn't illegal, does that make it right?
It was this question that two Lansing High School students recently addressed during a national Future Business Leaders of America competition.
Matt Humphreys, 18, and Hal Laurence, 17, traveled to Chicago for the national FBLA competition June 28 through July 1 and placed fourth out of 85 teams in the business ethics category.
"It just really felt awesome," said Humphreys, who graduated this May. "I had been up there the year previous and placed sixth, but to come back with someone who had only started working with debate that year, it was just an amazing feeling."
Business ethics is a performance category in which participants have 20 minutes to prepare a presentation explaining a solution to a common ethical dilemma in the business world.
After the pair won their bid to nationals by placing first in the statewide competition at the end of March, expectations were high for the team as they arrived in Chicago.
Laurence said that he and Humphreys took the competition seriously. They acted with professionalism, and he said their perception that they would do well from the beginning led to their success.
Humphreys agreed and added that all they could do was go out , do their best and not let nerves get in the way of their work.
"I did not want to let my colleague down," he said. "We worked really hard to get where we were, so I just tried to remain focused."
Another aspect that Laurence said helped his team was their familiarity with one another. Humphreys and Laurence have been on the debate team together at Lansing High for a year. Laurence said they were aware of each other's strengths and weaknesses and could use that as an advantage during the competition.
Their time at the conference in Chicago, however, went far beyond the competition factor. Humphreys said his favorite part of the trip was the Excellence of Awards Ceremony at the end of the week because there was so much support among the thousands of students in attendance for their fellow FBLA members.
"It's a wonderful organization where they try to teach you about the business world and prepare you for the future," Humphreys said about FBLA. "You may be competing against everyone, but there was no hesitation by them to come over and help another person."
As a career and technical education student organization, FBLA offers its participants information on developing skills such as teamwork, timelines, community service, how to handle certain business situations and computer skills.
Sue Lednicky, adviser of the Lansing High group, said she always told her students that as long as they try their hardest, she is willing to take them to whatever conference they qualified for. She said that even though she may not be a debate or forensics teacher, she works hard to encourage her students and makes sure they understand that the resources FBLA provides will help them in the future, no matter what path they take.
"It's a good feeling knowing that I may be helping these students find what their good in and what they like to do," Lednicky said. "And show them that these skill are necessary, no matter what they do, and show them they can be a success in life."
Through FBLA, Laurence said he's gotten the opportunity to work on community service projects. Many of those projects funded his trip to Chicago and he said that helped him understand the impact that community service can make first hand.
He also said that FBLA has allowed him to challenge himself and his beliefs and has showed him to look for the reasons behind those beliefs. He hasn't decided on which college he will attend after graduation next year but he plans to major in either chemical engineering or political science with the goal of becoming a college professor one day.
For Humphreys FBLA has given him a new way to look at different aspects of life and how they can tie into the business world he said. He plans to attend KU next year and will major in business management and leadership and will later go into corporate law.
For both, the national competition was an opportunity to work together and accomplish something that both said they would be proud of for years to come.