KWC to host 1,500 FBLA students
By Keith Lawrence Messenger-Inquirer | Posted: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 12:00 am
Students at Kentucky Wesleyan College may be on spring break this week, but the campus is as busy as ever.
Matthew Ruark, the school's director of alumni affairs and special gifts, said 1,500 high school members of Future Business Leaders of America will be on the campus Thursday and Friday for competitions that will send the top three in each category to the state conference in Louisville next month.
About 800 are expected Thursday for the Region 2 Leadership Conference and another 700 on Friday for the Region 1 Leadership Conference.
"We hosted Region 2 last year for the first time," Ruark said. "The Region 1 conference was supposed to be at Murray State University on March 10, but it was canceled because of the weather. They called to see if we could host it and we said, ‘Sure.' "
KWC is the only private school hosting a conference and the only school hosting two.
"Fulton County schools aren't coming," Ruark said, "because it's a four-hour drive each way for them. But we'll have schools from Paducah and Murray coming up Friday. On Thursday, we'll have schools from the Tennessee border on the south to Meade County on the east."
Between the two days, students will represent schools from nearly every county west of I-65.
"There will be about 50 competitions each day," Ruark said. "The top three in each category advance to state."
The general sessions each day will be in the college's Woodward Health and Recreation Center, he said. Competitions will be in classrooms across the campus.
Activities will stretch from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.
Students will eat in the school's cafeteria and sub sandwich shop, Ruark said.
Last fall, the college reported its enrollment at 655, which included full-time, part-time and online students.
So, each day of the FBLA conferences will see more students than usual on campus.
"Rarely are all of our students on campus at the same time," Ruark said. "These will both be big days for us."
The concept for Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda was developed in 1937 by Hamden L. Forkner of Columbia University, according to the organization's website.
The first high school chapter was chartered in Johnson City, Tenn. on Feb. 3, 1942.
Today, the high school division has 215,000 members nationally; the college division, 11,000 and the new middle school division, 20,000, the website says.
Keith Lawrence, 691-7301, firstname.lastname@example.org
Text courtesy Messengier-Inquirer