FBLA students get down to business

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Routt County high school students turned in a strong performance at a recent regional business competition.

At the District 9 Future Business Leaders of America competition in Grand Junction on Sunday, several students from Steamboat Springs and South Routt qualified for the state competition, from April 23 to 25 in Vail. Although Hayden High School business and technology teacher Kipp Rillos did not yet have results for his team Tuesday, six Hayden students have qualified for the national FBLA competition, from June 28 to July 2 in Nashville, Tenn.

Six Hayden High School students have qualified for this year's national FBLA competition, from June 28 to July 2 in Nashville, Tenn.:

Dusty Zabel, senior Jess Martin, junior Janna Hoza, sophomore, chapter president, who went to nationals last year Jake Magee, freshman Mitch VeDepo, freshman Billy Zehner, freshman

Shirley Belz, business teacher and FBLA coach at Soroco High School in Oak Creek, said more than 500 students from the Western Slope participated in individual, team and chapter events at the competition.

"All of the events test business knowledge and the ability to demonstrate business skills," said Belz, who taught at Steamboat Springs High School for 27 years before coming to Soroco this winter.

Individual events can include mock job interviews, public speaking and written tests about business law and marketing, Belz said. Team events can include making a magazine cover, business card or Web site, or debating current issues such as the privatization of Social Security. All teams at the event had to create a multimedia presentation about identity theft.

"Some of the topics are progressive," Belz said. "You encourage the kids to go watch other students and learn from their presentations."

Of the 18 Soroco students who competed Sunday, eight qualified for states.

Rory Olsen, who earned fourth place in computer applications; Emily Strait, fifth place in public speaking II; Kimberly Rossi, first place in public speaking I; Justine Ager, second place for chapter scrapbook; Toni Lombardi, Aila Bereznak, Jennifer Block, who earned second place for their multimedia presentation; and Chelsea Bonfiglio, who placed third in impromptu speaking.

For Belz, Sunday's competition was a family affair. Her son, Nick, is on the FBLA team for Steamboat Springs High School, and he placed first in the business law event.

In addition to Nick Belz, the following Steamboat students qualified for states. Alyssa Pierson, second place in business calculations; Kristin Toy, fifth place in business calculations; Matthew McIntosh, first place in banking and financial systems; Justin Howard, second place in business law; Travis Mouffe, second place in C++ programming; Zack Folkestad, third place in computer applications; Brandon Shenfield, fifth place in computer applications; Jenny Spencer, second place in job interview; Kacey Bull, fifth place in job interview; Katie Matteo, second place in word processing II; Taylor Miller-Freutel, fourth place in word processing II; Brittany Long and Vince Grippa, second place in desktop publishing; and Zack Folkestad, Brandon Shenfield, and Mark Shenfield, who placed second in emerging business issues.

"They did really well. I was really proud of them," said coach Carole Buelter, a learning support specialist at Steamboat Springs High School.

At Hayden High School, Rillos commended six students who qualified for nationals in FBLA's online Virtual Business Challenge, in which the students created a simulated grocery store supply company that competed for "customers."

Students Dusty Zabel, Janna Hoza and Jess Martin qualified after the challenge's first session, which concluded in December. Freshmen Jake Magee, Mitch VeDepo and Billy Zehner qualified after the second session, which ended last week.

"The second session focused more on human resources, and the first one was more logistical," Rillos said. "For these kids to qualify, especially from a small school like Hayden, is awesome."

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