Torrington FBLA members headed to Orlando nationals


By Rhett Breedlove

TORRINGTON – The Torrington Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) chapter led by veteran Goshen County educator and resident, Kristi McGuire, returned from the annual State Conference held on March 13-15 with both a strong showing, and solid results.

The amount of impact Torrington FBLA members made amounted as such to merit three participants and upperclassmen to qualify for national competition to be held in Orlando, Florida from June 29-July 2.

Although the national competition is familiar territory for McGuire, who was notably given prestigious FBLA recognition by the state competition on their coveted Wall of Fame; this particular national competition will hold a special place in the hearts of both McGuire and her pupils.

After 23 years of service, sacrifice, and dedication to her FBLA students, this will in fact be the final hoorah for McGuire and her esteemed career.

This being said McGuire is ready and energized to ensure her chapter will represent the state of Wyoming sincerely and passionately this summer in Orlando.

“I’ve been to nationals numerous times with several students over the last 20 years I have been doing FBLA,” McGuire said. “We have had a few great finishes from nationals in the past, and it would be nice to have another one. I don’t know what the next chapter will be, but it’s always fun for students to see things they haven’t yet. A lot of them have not seen the ocean. It’s not a vacation, but the conference in and of itself is workshops on top of competing. To get there, our students are going to have to work. Just to see all the kids in one place is very rewarding, and some of my best friends are FBLA advisors from around the nation.”

The three Torrington FBLA students who will be making the journey to Florida this summer will be Wyoming State FBLA President Kaleigh Waymire (junior), Torrington Chapter President Steven Schneider (senior), and Torrington Chapter Vice President Chloe Copenbarger (senior).

Although the experience will be a first for some, all three are looking forward and are ready to show their skills at a national level.

As Schneider honestly put things, the state experience was incredibly rewarding itself, therefore nationals will obviously have its own rewards to offer.

“I’d say this way my best state experience,” Schneider said. “I competed with Kaleigh in marketing, and we got fourth. I got third in accounting and fourth in banking and financial systems with Chloe. I was the campaign manager for Kayleigh, and I really enjoyed it. I think a lot of people showed up and thought it was interesting. Overall, it was a very good experience.”

“I thought it was a very fun experience as well,” Copenbarger added. “For my competitions, I placed first in Word Processing, and fourth in Banking and Financial Systems. It’s role-playing where we have to convince people to bank with us. I was also the complaint manager for Harrison Rodriguez, one of our freshmen who was running for vice president. I also received a micro-credential in Emotional Intelligence. I took a test and had to be above a certain percentage to receive it, and the results were based on how to interact with certain people with certain problematic situations.”

Although the participants received strong marks for their state showing amongst hundreds of Wyoming students, each student realizes the tangible task will be competing with thousands of fellow FBLA members nationwide.

In the mind of State President Waymire, stiffer competition merely means better experience and more growth. On top of this, the Torrington High School senior also sees it as an opportunity to treat her fellow Wyoming participants to some special fun in the sun.

“I got to go last year, and it’s definitely a very fun and exciting experience,” Waymire said. “You get offered so many opportunities to network with members across the United States. There are lots of workshop opportunities along with an expo hall. Last year they had a live band playing, and we also got to plan some fun activities like going to the World of Coca-Cola and the zoo. This year for Orlando I’m very excited. As state president of FBLA Wyoming, what we were thinking of doing is plan a beach trip for everyone to go to Tampa Bay and get all Wyoming FBLA members together. Nationals this year is offering Night Universal, so we are definitely looking forward to that. Since Steven and I are competing in Marketing, we could make it on the national stage there.”

“I think it’s going to be a very good learning experience at a national level,” Schneider added. “I’ve qualified two other times, but unfortunately I did not get to go. I know it’s going to be a very good learning experience to try and compete at this higher level. I’m also very excited to see Florida because I have never seen the east coast. I didn’t get to travel much when I was a kid, so I’m really excited to see somewhere new and get this travel experience. I want to see people from other chapters from far away who have a lot more business experience and get to talk to them; somewhere different from here where they have a lot of businesses, resources, and training.”

All three participants acknowledge Wyoming is typically among the chapters with the least amount of participation due to its incredibly low population. As chapter Vice President Copenbarger sees it, coming from a small state has certain advantages when it comes to learning a bit more.

“Personally, I have been to nationals twice already, and those experiences are what has set my expectations this year,” Copenbarger said. “It’s fun to be able to compete on a national level because Wyoming is so small. Being able to compete with other kids in the state is fun, along with watching the award ceremony. I love seeing other people you know and how hard they’ve worked. However, I also enjoy networking and being able to talk to new people around the nation, while seeing significant landmarks. Like in Chicago for example, we went to the art museum. It’s things like that. It’s an overall wonderful experience to travel like this.”

“For me though, the real difference is not knowing my competitors,” Copenbarger continued. “Currently I am friends with a lot of members in Word Processing. Just knowing how big the competition is there are going to be thousands of people, whereas here it’s only about 500. That is the difference along with seeing all the workshops and professionals who will come in and help. I’ve met owners of big businesses, and even famous people you’ve seen on the news for a national conference. Last time we went there was a lady who owned a clothing line, and it was something I had actually heard of. She was from California, so it was interesting to interact with somebody who lived a completely different life.”

Although the national competition will only see three members from Torrington this year, each officer was unyieldingly hopeful the younger classmen proceeding them will earn the same opportunities to travel nationally.

“Overall, I really want people to look at FBLA, especially the younger kids, and say, ‘I want to try that out,’” Waymire said. “It offers so many career exploration opportunities from networking with people across the U.S., or just in Wyoming. You make some pretty awesome lifelong friends through it. I hope they look at this and want to do it.”

“I just hope next year with the new advisor we get a lot of incoming members that really enjoy FBLA, hold some of our traditions, and keep the chapter running,” Copenbarger added. “It’s about helping kids realize what they want to do with their life.”

FBLA State Leadership Conference 2024 Results. eight members, one advisor, and one state officer attended.

Recipients of the Business Achievement Awards (BAA)-Contributor Level-Chloe Copenbarger, Mason Hinkley, and Alyssa Voshell.

National Qualifiers who will travel to Orlando this summer include, 3rd Accounting-Steven Schneider. 4th Banking and Financial System-Chloe Copenbarger and Steven Schneider. 4th Marketing-Steven Schneider and Kaleigh Waymire. 1st Word Processing-Chloe Copenbarger.

Additional Finalists Top 10 Place Finishers.

6th Business Law-Steven Schneider. 10th Client Services-Amon Napier. 6th Community Service Project-Taelor Copenbarger and Harrison Rodriguez. 8th Intro to Public Speaking-Jenna Woodard. 6th Intro to Social Media Strategies-Mason Hinkley and Alyssa Voshell. 9th Job Interview-Chloe Copenbarger. 6th Local Chapter Business Report. 3rd Who’s Who in Wyoming FBLA.