FBLA students qualify for State Leadership Conference
On December 5th, sixty-four members of Mount Olive High School's Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) club took the annual regional test that can qualify them for the state competition. Students compete in either the individual or group categories.
MOHS student and FBLA member, Barry Simmons designed t-shirts for the event using his brand I've Decided, featuring the words "Create. Lead. Inspire." Following the test was a luncheon, which featured a guest speaker, Mr. John DiMonda, who works for Lincoln Financial.
DiMonda explained his story of how he earned his higher position in his company by starting out small, working hard, and taking risks in the business world. Giving advice to the FBLA members, many of whom plan to pursue careers in business, DiMonda said it's important to understand the value of risk-taking in order to get ahead in the business world. Not all risks pan out, but some can help you achieve your goals.
Anna DiRienzo, who is the Vice-President Liaison of FLBA, DECA, and National Business Honor Society, along with the other officers, was responsible for promoting the event and encouraging members to sign up to take the qualifying test. One of DiRienzo's takeaways from the event was, "It's ok to take risks in life because it may get you somewhere. That's something I can struggle with, wanting to take the safer path." DiRienzo wants to major in Marketing and Supply-Chain Management and is hoping to eventually get a career in a related business field.
After tabulating the results of the qualifying test, 9 members will be moving on to the State Leadership Conference, which will take place from March 20th-22nd in Atlantic City. They are: Dylan Mayer (Accounting I); Jessica Mok, Sarah Leonard, and Husnain Raza (1st place for the region/Accounting II); Andres Cruz (Business Law); the team of Sumit Mistry and Aditya Menon (Global Business); Barry Simmons and Steven Anton (Securities and Investments).
Leonard said this is her second time taking and placing in the Accounting II competition. She continued, "I have always been interested in Business and have taken a majority of the Business classes offered at the high school. Being a part of FBLA has allowed me to become more involved in the business world, become associated with students who share the same interests, and explore my passion while having fun competing." Leonard is excited to pursue a degree in Business Analytics in college next year, and will continue to use the lessons she has learned from FBLA to continue reaching her goals.
Mok, who will compete in the same category, said, "For the longest time I have wanted to pursue a career in business. After I took Accounting II my sophomore year, I realized I wanted to become a CPA. The test was challenging but was fun to take."
Raza, also competing in Accounting II, explained, "Accounting has been an area of business that has always interested me and I think it is imperative for everyone to have some level of knowledge in this subject before entering the real world. Taking the class opened my eyes to all of aspects and principles of accounting that I had never known before. My teacher, Mr. Silverstein, also emphasized why knowing the rules of accounting are beneficial to everyone in America regardless of their interests and occupations."
Simmons, who will be competing in Securities and Investments, said, "My main goal for taking part in this competition was to improve my knowledge about the subject of finance by being tested on its many different aspects. My ultimate career goal is to manage my own hedge fund. In order to achieve this lofty goal, my career path needs to include being an investment advisor, financial analyst, portfolio manager, and more. All in all, FBLA is a very beneficial club for aspiring business professionals, and it offers many opportunities to help these students thrive."
Debate team argues its way to victory
The Mount Olive Debate Team is off to an outstanding start to their year-long competition season. Advised by Mr. Cotter and Mr. Kaspereen, the team has had a strong showing. After three competitions so far with other schools from around the state, the Mount Olive Debate Team has taken home one 1st place finish at Roxbury and one 2nd place finish at MOHS.
Most recently the team hosted a competition on December 14th against eight other schools: West Morris Central, Sparta, Sussex Tech, Roxbury, Kittatinny, Jefferson, Pope John, and Dover. At this competition, the students earned 6 wins with only 2 losses, finishing in 2nd place to West Morris.
Mr. Cotter said, "It's looking to be a tight season, especially between MOHS and West Morris."
Every year, one topic relevant to society as a whole, is nationally selected. This year's policy debate is: "The United States Should substantially reduce its restrictions on legal immigration to the United States."
Each group is then tasked with either creating an implementation plan (Affirmative) or attempts to disprove the plans of others (Negative).
Some MOHS Debaters who have strong showings thus far this year are: Jean Chambon, Jimmy Spaedt, Benjamin Mirisola, Kyungrim Shin, and Rebecca Halterman.
In regards to debating such a controversial topic, Chambon said, "Although political discussion on immigration can become heated the rules of policy debate requires all participants to engage in a polite manner. This formality has made the immigration topic quite approachable."
Chambon said participating in debate has helped him in various ways. "I believe debate has helped me hone certain skills," he said. "Specifically my problem solving skills, since as a negative debater I go into most debates knowing nothing and I have to piece together an argument quickly and in a coherent manner. I am also very comfortable speaking in front of crowds due to my time spent debating in front of strangers and friends."
Halterman echoed similar sentiments: "Developing the abilities to think critically, and to seek false information in arguments not only helps in debate, but helps to build the skills of all of our members as they navigate the real world. The idea of 'critical thinking' is widespread in schools, but debate teaches and applies it practically. At every debate my partner (Kyungrim Shin) and I hope that we can defend our ideas, and keep track of the flaws in them so that we can continue to improve and solidify our arguments. After every debate, we look over all of the arguments used against us, brainstorm solutions to the problems that our opponents found, and research defenses to their attacks."
Spaedt, whose partner is Mirisola, said, "My partner and I trained for the recent competition through researching and practicing with our teammates. The entire debate team works as a singular unit in order to win at each competition. The goal of my partner and I during each debate is to prove that the status quo is insufficient and that change needs to happen. Personally, I strive to win and to increase my personal score every time."
Debate Team members Stephen Goodyear and Max Greenblatt complete data entry, entering the scores for each debate.
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