For the first time in history, Arkansas Middle Level FBLA hosted a state competition for middle school FBLA students.

Each state was allowed to send only their first place winners on to nationals to compete.

Among those first place students were members of the Community Service Team representing Paris Middle School’s FBLA. The team came away from the competition with the top national award.

The Community Service Team from Paris Middle School competed at the state level in Little Rock in April. They placed first in the state. These students went on to compete at the FBLA National Leadership Conference in Baltimore in June, and placed first in the nation. They were awarded a medal and plaque at an awards session at the Baltimore Convention Center. Their FBLA adviser and business teacher is Angie Hutson.

The Community Service Team members are Maggie Richey, Karsyn Tencleve, and Jesse Wells. Their project was entitled, “Smiling Seniors.” These students led their FBLA group as they visited a local nursing home and took Christmas cards and blankets for residents. This Community Service Team organized the event, contacted Dayspring Card Company, got blankets donated, and made sure each student signed the cards.

The entire FBLA group visited the nursing home and sang Christmas carols to them before sitting down to visit with the residents and giving them gifts. The nursing home residents were thrilled to have these visitors. One patient even cried tears of joy.

When asked what they learned from this experience, Maggie Richey said, “We learned that the residents didn’t care as much about receiving the gifts as they did about us spending time with them.” Karsyn Tencleve said, “We learned to plan an event, as well as how to communicate with a company in order to request a donation.” Jesse Wells said, “We also learned to be organized and create a spreadsheet to help us recruit volunteers.”

This team says they plan to continue this project in the future by visiting the nursing home again and spending more one-on-one time with the residents.