Bleckley High National Winners

On June 27, 2019 Bleckley County High School FBLA members Maisi C, Jillian G, and Jordan S along with Adviser, Melissa Barker, Chaperone, April G and team Mascot, Jackson G ventured to Atlanta to take a flight to San Antonio, Texas to compete at Nationals. After three flight delays and a gate change, we finally boarded our flight to San Antonio. This was the first flight ever for two of the young ladies and the first in nearly 15 years for the other, We had a great flight and arrived at our La Quinta destination just in time to crash hard for the night or at least I thought so. Several of these ladies stayed up late to study for their exams.

For the next couple of days it was nothing but studying, eating, and very short adventures. They were very focused on their competitions. Hours each day were spent in the study room. On Saturday, Jillian and Jordan took their exam knowing that they would not hear anything before Monday morning at 5 am. Sunday morning, Maisi took the second part of her exam knowing she would have to wait until Tuesday night to hear anything. Maisi actually started her testing for Nationals in May. She had to complete tasks and create files using a multitude of Microsoft Office Suite programs. They all left their exams feeling a little worried because they were so confident. We spent Sunday afternoon enjoying a boat tour of the San Antonio River Walk and walking over to the Alamo. The area is rich in history and is quite beautiful. It was hot there, but nothing like Georgia humid hot! Maisi, Jillian, and Jordan each attended a preliminary voting meeting and Southern Region Meeting where they were recognized and received their pins for reaching the Community Service Achievement level for FBLA which means they each had earned 500 plus hours of service to their community. We are super proud of them for achieving this as giving back to the community is very important to our organization.

Alarms were set for 5 am Monday morning and for what seemed like forever the site was inaccessible due to the massive number of students checking to see if they had made finals. By 515 am we were in the study room with Jillian and Jordan prepping for their Finals round. We were so ecstatic to see Bleckley County listed on the Finals sheet! Jillian and Jordan had a total of 3.5 hours before they needed to report for their presentation. In the Finals round of Hospitality Management, members are given a case study topic where they have to prepare a speech with solutions and alternatives as a response to a case study. Following the speech, they had to be available for questions from the judges’ panel. Playing on their strengths, they divided and conquered their presentation. They felt surprisingly well about the job they had done.

The best way to really start the day after a 5 am wakeup call was a trip to Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels, Texas. The largest water park in North America seemed like a great way to celebrate jobs very well done by the ladies and to celebrate the 5th birthday of our favorite fella on the trip, Jackson. He turned 5 in Texas! We all loaded into the rented minivan and headed out for a day of fun in the sun. If anyone heads out to Schlitterbahn, be prepared for the not so lazy river! It had thrills! Most of us enjoyed Texas BBQ for lunch. The BBQ tacos were awesome. After an exhausting day of final rounds and Schlitterbahn fun we ended the day with what we were told was an absolute must, A Whataburger meal. I was surprisingly impressed!

Our final day of the conference began with a relaxing morning sleeping in for the first time the entire trip. We then went to Fogo de Chao for lunch. It was fun, interesting and something we had never experienced. After a lengthy lunch, we moseyed around for a bit before getting ready to find out the final results! We had completely tuckered out Jackson, so he napped most of the way through the awards program. April and I were on the edges of our seats just like our young ladies. We had full confidence in their ability to do well. Finally, Computer Applications was called to the stage and so was Maisilyn C! There were only three competitors left on the stage and they were all from Georgia! Maisilyn was awarded  2nd place in the Nation and received a $200 award as well. We were so ecstatic and proud! Then the waiting continued. It was a long way from C for Computer Applications to H for Hospitality Management, but we made it. Finally, Hospitality Management was called and guess what, so were Jillian G and Jordan S. They headed off to the stage to receive their award; we just did not know what place they had earned yet. Jillian and Jordan were announced as 5th in the nation. We were so ecstatic. They each also received a $50 monetary award. We were extremely ecstatic but too exhausted to go to the celebration dance or eat supper.

On Wednesday, everyone lazed a bit while I took care of the rental to get us to Austin. On our journey out, we stopped to visit the World’s Largest Cowboy Boots and decided we needed a celebratory lunch for all the hard work put in by these ladies. Therefore, we located a Cheesecake Factory in Austin near the airport for lunch. Another new experience for most of the party! After lunch, we headed to the airport with a little wiggle room in our time schedule. After arriving and moments before time to board our flight, we were delayed two hours. Just moments later, we were delayed again for an additional 45 minutes. We were beginning to think that we were not going to make it out of Austin! After finally boarding the plane nearly three hours after our initial flight time, we quickly realized there were many empty seats. We could have each had our own row it was so empty! After what seemed like an eternity of travel, we finally arrived in Atlanta, located our vehicle and headed home without any other travel problems.

We would especially like to thank the many sponsors in the community who made this trip possible. Without you, we would not have been able to make the journey to San Antonio and bring home all of the awards that we did.