From Nov. 20-23, some of Maine’s State Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) members journeyed south to Baltimore, Maryland for FBLA’s annual National Fall Leadership Conference. Members from all over the eastern part of the U.S., Virgin Islands, and parts of Canada attended the conference. The conference was held on November 21-22. It consisted of an opening session, workshops, closing session, and a dance to raise money for the March of Dimes. When the members from Maine weren’t busy with the conference events, they did a little sight seeing.

The students who attended from Oak Hill were Allison Adams, Stacy Bartos, Stephanie Kullson, Holly Rancourt, Brandie Deschaine, Cassie Gauthier (State Vice President), and Amanda Favreau (State Treasurer). Ben Shimamura (State Parliamentarian), from Telstar Regional High School, also came along the trip. Erlene Allen and Angela Roy, FBLA advisors from Oak Hill High School, came as well.

Before anything could happen, they had to survive a 12-hour drive in a 15 passenger van. To split the ride down, hey stopped at the Statue of Liberty and took in the excellent view of New York with the Statue just beside it.

When the members finally stepped into the hotel, their first reaction was, “I feel like royalty!” They stayed in a Marriot hotel that was right on the waterfront in Baltimore. The members roamed around in awe. Every few seconds someone would point out something else that was extraordinary about the palace-like hotel that they were lucky enough to be able to stay at for a few nights.

The next day, Nov. 21, the members traveled into Washington D.C. They went to the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial, and toured the United States Capitol Building. At the Vietnam Memorial, the students traced back their ancestors and traced a copy to take home. During the tour through the capitol, the members had to go underground to get from building to building. To do this, you have to go through extreme security measures. One of our members almost didn’t get through because her belt was made of the wrong material.

That evening, the opening session amazed the members. There was an awesome multimedia program set up, and motivational music was always playing. The theme was introduced that evening, “LeadAchieveSucceed!” Guest speaker, Bill Cordes, discussed this theme, but at the same time, made everyone laugh so hard that they were crying. Everyone in the room was paying attention to him, which is saying a lot.

On Nov. 22, the members went to various workshops.

That night, the members went to the closing session. The closing speaker was Ryan Underwood, who made us look at life’s little problems in a more humorous way.

The next day was the long journey home. Glad to be going home, the students were all ready to leave at 5:30 as planned. This wasn’t meant to be. There elevators were turned off because someone had thought it was funny to pull the fire alarm on another floor. Unless they wanted to drag their luggage down 18 flights of stairs, they were stuck until everything was worked out. About an hour later, the elevators started up again and they were on their way home.

After a few hours, the students stopped in New York City to see Ground Zero. This was a very solemn moment. Everyone was trying to imagine how tall the World Trade Center used to be in comparison to buildings that were nearby. Out of nowhere, they heard a flute playing a mournful tune. A mother and father were placing flowers on the fence. They sadly told our group that they had lost their son. This visit really hit home for everybody.

Each member gained something different from this trip. Some people gained knowledge of our country; some learned more about FBLA. The members most defiantly went home with the attitude that will make Maine’s FBLA “LeadAchieveSucceed!”

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