Searsport District High School student members of Future Business Leaders of America competed virtually with chapters across the state, racking up one first place, one third-place, and four second-place awards at a leadership conference March 22-23.

The organization aims to prepare students for careers in business and helps develop leadership skills through regional, state and national competitions, according to its website. At this conference local chapters competed in a variety of events focused on business and marketing over a broad spectrum of topics.

Chapter President Max Provencher also serves as Maine FBLA vice president and national treasurer's council sponsorship director. In all, he said, there are 12 chapters throughout the state and nine of them participated in this conference.

“Our chapter competed in two types of events,” he said. “Case study events and objective test events.”

According to Provencher, all of the individual awards correspond to an individual event that was an objective test taken online prior to the conference. There were 100 multiple choice questions to be completed in 60 minutes.

The team awards were for a case study team event. “The way this works is that students have 20 minutes to read a case study and present to a panel of judges their solution to the problem outlined in the case study,” he said. The presentations take place over Zoom prior to the conference and students have seven minutes to present their solution.

Chapters are allowed to have one team compete in each case study, and two students from each chapter can compete in each objective test.

FBLA team member Ellis Braga said, "The competition was a unique experience because we did it remotely, but a lot of the sportsmanship and competitive aspects of the conference were maintained, which was a nice touch."

Jennifer Rich, middle school math teacher and faculty adviser for the Searsport FBLA Chapter, said, “I'm very proud of these students who chose to take risks and compete at the state level.

“We were all disappointed when our state conference was canceled last year due to COVID. We understood the need to hold a virtual conference this year, and are eager to compete in person next year in Portland. Now that we've tasted success, we are sure to perform even better and show how much a small group of dedicated students can achieve.”

Provencher added, "After nearly three years since I started the chapter, it's rewarding to see our success pay off at our first state conference. The accolades that our chapter has achieved are a testament to the value that FBLA adds to a student's education."

SDHS students placed in the following categories:

Ellis Braga – second place, Agribusiness

Max Provencher – second place, Personal Finance; second place, Political Science; first place, Securities and Investments

Ellis Braga, Max Provencher and Cole Ellis – second place, Entrepreneurship

Lily Nadeau, Abby Astbury and Cole Ellis – third place, Sports and Entertainment Management