RCPS to send two students to FBLA Nationals

Rockdale Salem topper
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(Pictured left to right) Salem High School International Entertainment and Business Leadership Academy students Gradea Harris, left, and Demetrious Sampson, right, with SHS Business Education teacher and FBLA advisor Karleta Sigman.

Rockdale County Public Schools (RCPS) is proud to announce two students from the International Entertainment and Business Leadership Academy at Salem High School (SHS) – senior Gradea Harris and junior Demetrious Sampson – will compete at the national Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) competition in Anaheim, California this June. This is the first time RCPS students have advanced to the national FBLA stage in more than 14 years.

Gradea Harris won first place in Healthcare Administration, beating out 206 students at the state competition. She previously placed fifth in the same category at the regional level.

Demetrious Sampson won second place in Impromptu Speaking, succeeding 13 competitors at the state competition. He previously won first place in the same category at the regional level.

Under the guidance of SHS Business Education teacher Karleta Sigman, 31 FBLA members, including Gradea and Demetrious, participated in the regional FBLA competition and 29 participated in the state FBLA competition, which took place March 12-14.

“I am extremely proud of these students and Ms. Sigman,” says Tonya Bloodworth, Salem High School principal.  “I am confident that both Gradea and Demetrious will do well in the national competition and will represent Salem High School and all of Rockdale County very well.”

Karleta Sigman reiterated how proud she is of her students and their achievements. “We are determined to grow our FBLA Chapter so that our students will continue to have experiences such as this one,” says Ms. Sigman. “The business department at Salem High is working to motivate and prepare students to realize their full potential. Ms. Bloodworth, our principal, encourages all teachers to take pride in molding our young adults to be better individuals, citizens and leaders.”

Under Sigman, an alumnus of FBLA, Salem’s FBLA chapter has grown tenfold over the last four years, from 10 members in 2013 to about 100 members currently. The chapter was recognized as the state conference as a “50 Member Club” for having more than 50 members.

A crowdfunding donation account has been created to help Gradea Harris and Demetrious Sampson make the 50,000 mile trip to California. If you would like to help, please go to www.rcpspartner.com.

Salem High School’s International Entertainment and Business Leadership Academy prepares students for the global workforce by completing rigorous courses of study along with two or more focused pathways. Pathway offerings include film production, radio production and management, music production, and global studies with an emphasis on world languages. Along with their pathways, students have the opportunity to participate in dual enrollment courses with local area colleges and universities and/or work-based learning. International Entertainment and Business Leadership Academy students will participate in Academy workshops featuring guest speakers from industry, business, and the community. These workshops will provide students with the opportunity to enhance their leadership and communication skills, develop business knowledge and abilities, and enhance their cultural understanding and appreciation. Students will graduate ready to be 21st Century leaders in the business, entertainment, and global community. For more information, go to www.rockdaleschools.org/specialty.

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