CHIPLEY - Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) from Chipley High School made a big showing at district competition last month at Chipola College by bringing home seven first place wins.

Under the leadership of President Elizabeth Kiwalaby the team has excelled this year and she is honored to be in her position.

"It is my senior year and my last as president," said Kiwalaby. "As I watch my team excel to the next level is a honorable position to be in. This school year has been the most fulfilling yet."

Thirty-six students competed in computer-based testing in 20 categories ranging from business law to cyber security. Only one student competed in a presentation category, Kiwalaby, who placed first in client services. CHS FBLA members placed in the top three in 19 of the 20 categories, in the process, achieving seven first place winners, seven second place winners and five third place winners.

Sponsor Sharon Roberts says she is proud of the hard work her students have put forth to prepare for competition.

"We have 43 members and of those 36 competed," said Roberts. "I am so proud of these kids and all of their hard work."

Roberts who has been over FBLA for the last few years is sad to see her seniors leave but is excited about the freshmen that have come aboard.

"Although I am sad to see my seniors leave that have been with me since the beginning," said Roberts. "I am confident in the freshmen that are picking up the torch. They have jumped right in and began testing and have done great jobs."

Currently FBLA members are studying for state competition which will be held March 21-25 in Orlando. The top three students in each category are eligible for state competition, in total CHS will have 20 students competing at state level.

Roberts says that FBLA teaches valuable life lessons, the most important is that of compromise.

"As these students go out into the world and find jobs, they will learn that compromising is one of the most important things they can do," said Roberts. "Learning how to work together and how to get along and make changes that are selfless, is the best way to learn compromise. This is the most important lesson I hope my students take from FBLA."

In order to raise funds to go to competitions, FBLA hosts fundraisers to help cover part, if not all, of the associated costs. At $375 per student for state competition, those fundraisers are important. Donations are also accepted for anyone that would like to help. Checks can be written to Chipley High School FBLA and dropped off at the office.

Roberts says she wants to make a difference and is hoping she does just that.

"I truly hope I am making a difference in these students lives," said Roberts. "I am just so proud of all they have accomplished and will accomplish in their very bright futures."