Roseburg High School incoming senior Margo Boyd was elected as the Future Business Leaders of America’s national secretary during the 2019 National Leadership Conference, which wrapped up Tuesday in San Antonio.

Boyd’s election was the crowning moment for a successful year of competing for Roseburg’s FBLA chapter.

Roseburg High School was represented by 16 students at the National Leadership Conference. Roseburg’s outgoing freshmen, Kou Castle and Aiyana Brown, finished eighth in the introduction to business presentation.

“It’s pretty unique to have students of any age do as much preparation as they did, to take it as seriously and do as well (as they did). In the five years I’ve been here, we’ve had one other person on stage,” Roseburg FBLA Adviser Larina Warnock said. “As an adviser I could not be more proud, whether they had gotten on stage or not. ... It’s been really good to see their friendship grow through this. They both have been through some pretty difficult experiences this year, personally, and to see them get eighth place despite those things is just amazing.”

Oakland High School’s Bailey Mast finished third in Sales Presentation at the national conference.

“Bailey knew she wanted to do Sales Presentation at the beginning of the year and was determined to get first place at state and to compete at the national level. She studied and worked hard to accomplish her goal,” Oakland FBLA Adviser Susan Yates said. “She continued to study and prep after returning from the FFA national convention, fine-tuning her skills, in order to accomplish her goal.”

Mast’s presentation was for Carry-On Trailers, a product she has worked with for most of the school year. She made a presentation in November 2018 at the FFA national competition where she finished 10th. In April, she became FBLA state champion with a sales presentation on the product.

“It was a very different product from other people that were doing (presentations),” Mast said. “People were selling technological things, so it was kinda cool to be from Oregon and doing an agricultural product.”

Mast’s goal for next year is to find something she enjoys as much as sales presentations since she will not be able to compete in that field again.

Oakland High School had nine students attending the national conference.

There were several other Oregon FBLA finalists, including students from Ridgeview, Scappoose and Silverton. Students got to experience not only a high level of competition, but also had the opportunity to network and go sightseeing.

“It was an amazing opportunity and a lot of people supported us to get there,” Mast said. “It was just really exciting to meet people from all over the world and go to Texas, because I’d never been to Texas before.”

Warnock said there were six Roseburg students who had never been on an airplane before. There were also several who had never been on a rollercoaster, something that changed after the group visited Six Flags.

In addition to sightseeing around town, there were plenty of networking and socializing opportunities at the conference as well.

“I had a lot of networking opportunities. I actually found that some of my robotics skills came in handy, especially with the trading pins they had because they had batteries and different stuff in there,” Castle said. “I taught some people from Florida about circuitry inside one of the pins and I got to make a lot of friends.”

Brown added: “It was pretty amazing. You got to meet people you would never ever have met, from all over America and even places like Tanzania, Puerto Rico and Hungary.”

Castle and Brown spent countless hours over the past six months preparing their presentation on Giving Tuesday.

“The best part for me was once we had it all memorized and down, we could really focus on connecting with our audience,” Brown said. “That made it a lot more fun, because you could see the reactions of people you were telling the stuff to and it wasn’t just talking to a wall trying to memorize your speech.”

They were the lone Roseburg team to advance to the finals, which meant an automatic top 15 finish in a field of 115.

“This sets up a pretty good transition to next year,” Castle said.

Warnock added: “They said something after they won, that was really cool. I focus in our chapter on learning and the learning experience. Of course we love it when they win, but the reality is .5% of students get to go on stage. ... They said ‘we’re happy we didn’t win first, because we wouldn’t know what to do to improve, we won’t be able to have that learning experience.’”

Boyd, who ran for national office, had to make her presentation in front of 13,000 students from all over the world, and it didn’t go as smooth as she had hoped.

“This is something I’ve wanted to do since freshman year,” Boyd said. “I’ve never spoken in front of that many people before, and it didn’t go as I hoped it would. I had to pause a couple of times. At state level I had given a speech and the lights were so bright that you couldn’t see anyone in the crowd, and I thought the national level would be the same. But when I took the stage I could see 13,000 people looking at me and you can’t prepare for your reaction to that. It was overwhelming, but I’m really glad I did it.”

Warnock said, “I think what I was most proud of was that she flubbed her speech a little bit, but —and I think back to when I was 17 and there’s no way I would even be up there with 13,000 people— she finished her speech. She didn’t collapse into tears, she didn’t freak out, she took a couple of pauses and finished her speech.”

Boyd was elected as executive vice president of Oregon FBLA during the state competition in April, and then had to prepare a national campaign, budget, booth, and conduct numerous interviews.

Her platform was “Grow with Margo” to grow communication, engagement and membership. She helped coordinate more than 1,000 volunteer hours for Roseburg FBLA last year.

Roseburg FBLA Vice President Kyaira Gouge said, “I felt so proud. Just watching all the hard work that she put into it and watching it have a good outcome.”

Gouge was the chapter office representative at the national conference.

In addition to the individual titles, Roseburg FBLA also won the Gold Seal of Merit, Outstanding Chapter and Chapter Challenge.

“We have a really unique group right now, because everyone in the chapter is really hard working,” Boyd said. “More than just being a team, we’re more of a family and that was started by Mrs. Warnock. She is a second mom to almost all of the members and we’re all a really good support system.”

Castle agreed, “What sets us apart is Ms. Warnock.”

Warnock was recognized as Outstanding Chapter Adviser in Oregon.

Sanne Godfrey can be reached at sgodfrey@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4203. Follow her on Twitter @sannegodfrey.

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Education Reporter

Sanne Godfrey is the education reporter for The News-Review.

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