BELMONT — Twenty-seven members of Belmont High School's Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) chapter attended the 42nd Annual NH-FBLA State Leadership Conference at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester on March 13 and 14. After a rough start to the day on Thursday, the students settled right in and performed admirably, earning a spot as one of the top three chapters in New Hampshire for the fifth consecutive year.
Ben Hill, the adviser of the FBLA chapter at Belmont High School (BHS), reflected on the work of his students this year, stating, "I am so happy for the students because they put a lot of effort and energy into the many things we have done during the last year. There is certainly a bar that has been set by their predecessors, but we had almost 50 students involved in FBLA this year, and I think they accomplished more than any group before them. I hope they are able to connect the work ethic and commitment to excellence demonstrated throughout the year to these awards and recognition."
Things weren't looking so good on Wednesday evening, as the snow started to fall and the threat of a school cancellation had the students worried that they would not be able to attend the conference. According to Hill, "I had students calling me Wednesday night asking if they could drive to the conference if school was cancelled. Some of them worked very hard for weeks preparing for their competitive events, so they were anxious about the weather."
After a two-hour delay on Thursday morning, the bus rolled out, and an hour later, the conference kicked off with professor, author, and motivational speaker, Dr. Joe Martin. In his first session with students, Dr. Martin used poetry and personal experience to deliver an emotional message about living each day to the fullest and never wasting opportunities. He returned after lunch for a second session, where he told students to learn to be ugly. The message was simple: don't let others get in your way, pursue your dreams, and don't settle for being average.
When Dr. Martin was finished, the candidates for state office gave their speeches, and then it was time for competitive events. Students delivered presentations and took tests on a wide variety of business-related subjects or skills. After the events were finished, a formal dinner was held for students and advisers to practice business dining etiquette. A casual dance and game night was held after the dinner to allow time for relaxation and encourage networking between schools after an intense day of competition.