Over eight thousand students and advisers descended on San Antonio, Texas, for the 70th Annual Future Business Leaders of America National Conference on Thursday, June 28, 2012. Among those attending were Kelsie Alvernaz, Elizabeth Puentes, their adviser, Mrs. Pam Stalley, and Kelsie’s mom, Kara, and sister Danielle. Kelsie and Ely were representing Williams High FBLA in the Desktop Publishing competition after winning the state championship in the event at California FBLA’s State Leadership Conference in Irvine in April.
The National Conference occupied six different hotels in downtown San Antonio and the opening ceremonies on Friday evening and the Awards of Excellence on Monday evening were convened in the Convention Center.
Kelsie and Ely produced marketing materials for a barbeque restaurant scenario which were submitted for preconference judging. Upon arrival at the NLC, they both took a written test on knowledge of and principles of desktop publishing/graphic design. When the top ten finalists were announced, the Williams team was invited to the stage, bringing home trophies for 8th place in the highly competitive event.
Raising money to fund the flight, five day hotel stay, registration, and incidentals was no small task. Wayman’s 76 owner, Nancy Marshall, generously funded Kelsie’s expenses, while Ely benefitted from contributions from Sun Valley Rice, Beeler Tractor, Louis Cairo’s and California Family Foods.
“We were overwhelmed by the community support,” says Mrs. Stalley. “These two students went above and beyond, and we are so proud of them.” Williams High has had past winners at NLC including Ely’s brother, Miguel Puentes, in Spreadsheet Apps in 2010, and National Champion in Future Business Leader and State Chapter Annual Business Report Competition, Alyssa Stalley in 2008. “Nationals is so highly competitive, it is a tremendous honor to place in the top ten in any event. It was definitely worth the trip. I want to express my deepest gratitude and appreciation to those businesses who offered financial assistance to my students.”
Kelsie reflects, “FBLA has brought me amazing opportunities I never would have dreamed we could experience. Making it all the way to San Antonio, Texas, and going to Nationals was a huge honor. It felt good to represent California and bring back a trophy. In addition to the top ten honors, my 18th birthday was Sunday and spending it in Texas walking along the Riverwalk and touring the Alamo capped off a time I will never forget.”
Ely shares, “Having been in FBLA for four years was an experience like none other. Placing at State in our event was amazing. Winning first place in California was unreal because since I was a freshman, I had always wanted to attend the National Conference and now I have had the opportunity to go and represent my school and state. The whole time we were experiencing the conference, Kelsie and I just wanted to make it to the top ten and we ended up taking home the 8th place award. Kelsie and I make such a great team because we both have the same vision for our designs. Thank you, Mrs. Stalley, for always supporting me in anything I needed and for teaching us all we know. Being in your classes made it possible for us to make it to the top.”■