Three Routt County high school students qualified for the national Future Business Leaders of America competition with strong performances at the state FBLA event in Vail last week.
Hayden High School freshman Janna Hoza and Steamboat Springs High School students Katie Matteo and Devon Riley will have the opportunity to travel to Orlando, Fla., in June to compete against some of their peers from across the country.
Competing against at least 30 other students, Hoza, 15, finished second in the business math event.
"I was really surprised," Hoza said last week. "I really didn't think I'd even qualify."
For Hoza, the chance to go to Florida is more than just an opportunity to test her skills against students from other states.
"I've never been on a plane or to the beach," she said. "I'm real excited."
Matteo and Riley qualified for the national competition by placing second in desktop publishing. Matteo and classmate Kim Smith had qualified for the state competition by placing second in desktop publishing in February's district competition in Grand Junction.
About three dozen students from Hayden, Steamboat Springs and Soroco high schools attended the three-day event in Vail, where about 3,000 students from across the state convened for competitions, seminars and social events.
Several other Routt County students placed in the top 10 in their events. For Steamboat Springs High School, Alex Chotvacs placed fourth in technology concepts, Alyssa Pierson placed eighth in business calculations, and Kelsey Patterson placed ninth in public speaking II. The team of Drew Ganyer, Renny Harner and Yoshi Yonekawa placed eighth in Web design. For Soroco High School, the team of Aila Bereznak, Toni Lombardi and Jennifer Block placed ninth in multimedia presentation.
Soroco FBLA sponsor Angela Blair said the state conference provides students great networking opportunities as well as a chance to compete in a variety of events.
"It's neat to see the level of interest in all of the different events they have to offer," Blair said.
Hayden FBLA sponsor Kipp Rillos said the conference is particularly helpful for rural students.
"It's a great experience, especially for kids in a small school in Northwest Colorado," he said. The conference allows students to meet other teenagers, attend seminars and workshops and conduct themselves in a professional manner in a professional atmosphere.
"It's really a great event," Rillos said.
FBLA, founded in 1937 by Dr. Hamden Forkner, seeks to bring business and education together through leadership and career development programs, conferences and competitions. FBLA students also actively engage in community service and other activities.