Jones College FBLA earn 1st place in National competition

ELLISVILLE – Perhaps a little Disney “magic” helped Jones College’s FBLA students earn two, first-place trophies in national competition in Orlando, Florida recently. The 2024 Collegiate National Leadership Conference of Future Business Leaders of America, Inc., (FBLA) the nation’s largest Career and Technical Student Organization focused solely on business, attracted more than 1000 college students and educators from across the country, including 12 Jones College students.

Danielle Parker-Laurel, Advisor-David Ray and Jaythan Comegys-Laurel

“This is my 16th year as an advisor for FBLA at Jones College and this is the first time we’ve taken first place at national competition. The closest we’ve come is a second place win several years ago,” shared David Ray. “It was an amazing week with 12 talented Jones students. All of their hard work this year culminated in several top ten and two 1st place awards. I couldn’t be prouder of this group of students. I’m looking forward to displaying our national championship banners in our club room!”

Earning the top spot and ending the more than 20-year drought of first place wins for JC, were Laurel’s Jaythan Comegys and Vicksburg’s Barbara Ahlvin. They placed first in the nation in the Emerging Business Issues team event, beating out 35 other competitors. The Jones Team received the competition topic a few months in advance and prepared a slideshow discussing the positive and negative sides of the topic. Ray explained they decided to use two students bantering back and forth like it was friendly “debate” or argument, which the judges loved.

“My time in FBLA, culminating in this trip to Nationals, was the best of all of my time at Jones College. Our group grew in confidence, in professionalism, and in friendship, all while making joyous memories throughout the journey!” shared Ahlvin.

Comegys teamed up with another Laurel native, Danielle Parker in the State of Chapter event. Ray explained that teams from Co-Lin Community College and East Central Community College have dominated this event in the past and placed in the top ten at National’s multiple times. At the state competition, the Jones College team came in second place; just one point behind East Central and Co-Lin got third place. At national competition, East Central didn’t make the finals and Co-Lin didn’t compete.

“This past year we tripled the amount of activities/meetings/speakers/campus awareness for the club, and we initiated several outreach programs and provided a ‘cool’ club room for members. Because of our intense refocus on the club, we decided to try our hand at that event, which basically showcases your clubs’ activities for the year,” said Ray. “We were beyond excited at the awards program to have all of our work and effort this past year recognized nationally!

On the first attempt to compete in this category, the Jones College team’s presentation with Comegys and Parker beat out 27 other states’ presentations, earning them first-place in National competition. With two first-place trophies, Comegys returned to Jones County, grateful for the experience.

“The entire trip was amazing, beginning to end. Spending time with such a fun group and getting to work with talented students made for an unforgettable experience,” said Comegys.

The two-time first place national winner, also placed eighth in Impromptu Speaking. Additionally, Ahlvin also competed in Job Interview and Parker made the finals in Future Business Executive.

Other Jones College student winners included Terry Rogers of Quitman who placed sixth in Impromptu Speaking, and he also made the finals in Public Speaking. Matthew Taylor of Richland placed 10th in Entrepreneurship Pitch Competition, and he competed in Foundations of Entrepreneurship along with Walker Dear of Florence. The team of Raleigh’s Ethan Hammons and Logan Ingram, and Hattiesburg’s Ethan Noffke placed seventh in the Computer Science Case Competition. Hammons also competed in Foundations of Computer Science, and Noffke competed in the Foundations of Technology category. Also competing were Lance Hamilton of Waynesboro-Public Speaking; Deja Baskin of Laurel-Computer Applications and Raegan Drummer of Laurel-Foundations of Computer Science and Retail Management

Twelve Jones College students earned the opportunity to compete at the 2024 Collegiate National leadership Conference of Future Business Leaders of America, Inc. Pictured left to right in the frong row are, Lance Hamilton-Waynesboro, Walker Dear-Florence, Deja Baskin-Laurel, Barbara Ahlvin-Vicksburg, Raegan Drummer-Laurel, Danielle Parker-Laurel, and Terry Rogers-Quitman. Pictured in the back row, left to right are, Matthew Taylor-Ridgeland, Logan Ingram-Raleigh, Jaythan Comegys-Laurel, Ethan Noffke-Hattiesburg, and Ethan Hammons-Raleigh.

FBLA’s National Leadership Conference brings together students to compete for cash prizes in dozens of competitive events over four days each year. Students also had the opportunity to engage in learning workshops, network with alumni, and meet with potential employers.