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By Jackie Nelson
HESSTON – Hesston High students had a strong year, competing in Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA). This year, Hesston is sending nine students to national competition in a variety of categories. National competition will take place in June.
Sponsor Staci Hansen said after last year’s cancellation of the season due to the pandemic, this year’s highlight was, “Getting to compete after not getting to last year and seeing our kids succeed and do well even when things were different.”
This season, Swathers who qualified for nationals will take part in all-online competitions in June, giving Zoom presentations and taking online tests.
The effects and challenges of COVID-19 have lingered, as competitions were moved online. Hansen said areas where Hesston typically excel – presentations in team events – were cancelled this year. She added that students were not able to go compete in person and “do all of the fun things we can do when in person.”
However, the challenges were overcome by collaborating with staff to ensure FBLA competitors had the best experience possible.
“Luckily, we have a great tech director, Phil Unruh, who made sure we had adequate internet to keep us up and running for virtual testing as we spent two full days testing with 41 kids in our gym,” said Hansen.
Other students stepped up to assist FBLA in their competitions, as Katie Gaston and the Audio Visual class, “Helped us with the logistics of getting presentations recorded professionally,” she said.
Hansen said she also wanted to extend a special thanks to Denise Goevert and Garrett Roth for helping run events.”
While working through an unconventional season, Hansen said her students continued to adapt, overcome and succeed. From FBLA veterans to first-time competitors, Hansen said she was impressed with the effort and dedication of Hesston teens.
“Madalyn Dages, a senior, this is her first…