Fairmont State University was visited by almost 100 West Virginia high school students for the Winners’ Circle event on Monday. This event is held for the students who are headed to the Future Business Leaders of America national conference in June.  

Jim Davis, assistant professor for the School of Business, said the Winners’ Circle is held in different places every year and was honored to have them on Fairmont’s campus this time.

“This is really about preparing and practicing for the conference in June and being on a college campus is a great way to help them do that,” he said. “FBLA gets students involved through meetings, competitions and conferences. So when they come to Fairmont State, they are able to be a part of Phi Beta Lambda, which is the college part of FBLA.”

Students have the option to compete in one of 70 difference categories raning from public speaking to web design to business planning and entrepreneurship.

Denise Losh, the West Virginia FBLA advisor, said preparing for the competition is a lot of work for the students. They have specific rubrics and guideilnes they have to follow.

“These students don’t have to be going into business because business relates to every field, they just want to learn more whether it’s accounting, personal finance or even IT programs,” she said. “It’s a lot of college-like prep, they have to go above and beyond the regular classroom work. This is more like what they would see in their careers or college prep.”

The students were presenting, taking tests, and doing mock job interviews all in order to prepare for the upcoming conference in San Antonio, Texas. Losh said there the students will have the chance to network and meet new people.

“This competition really prepares them to network, there will be somewhere between 9-12,000 people from the U.S. and even other countries like Cananda and China,” she said. “They’ll hear from speakers from all over.”

FBLA is the high school version of Phi Beta Lambda, the largest career student business organization in the world. The concept for Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) was developed in 1937 and the first high school chapter was chartered in Tennessee in 1942. In 1958, the first collegiate chapter of Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) was chartered in Iowa. The Professional Division, originally the Alumni Division, began in 1979 and the FBLA-Middle Level division was started in 1994 for students in grades 5-9.

More information about FBLA can be found at www.wvfbla.com.