Wellsville High School’s Future Business Leaders of America students won top awards at the virtual FBLA National Leadership Experience last week, placing first in one event and among the top five in four other events. All of this despite facing school closure challenges because of the COVID-19 pandemic this spring.


For the past four months, Wellsville’s students, like many across the nation, prepared for nationals with social distancing practices and Zoom sessions. The national event was originally to be in Salt Lake City before moving to a virtual format with more than 10,000 competitors from across the world participating.


"I am proud of all of the students and the extra effort they put forth during these unusual circumstances and dealing with crazy situations as they came up," said Dawn Rottinghaus, Wellsville business teacher and FBLA adviser. "All of the students worked extremely hard to perform well at the national level."


James Hurd was Wellsville’s national champion, placing first in Network Design and earning $500.


Sarah Face, Ryan Kemp and Jessie McClellan finished third in E-Business, while earning $200 as a team.


Dawson Dwyer, Rylee Kuntz and Kate Potter placed fourth in Publication Design. Fifth-place finishers were Julia Delgado and Kaylie Reese in American Enterprise Project; and Bethany Pearson, Koy Randell and Roman Schroeder in Introduction to Business Presentation.


Wellsville FBLA also had its second national officer in school history elected at this year's conference. Senior Kaylie Reese was elected as the National FBLA Mountain Plains Region Vice President for 2020-2021.


She will represent nine mid-western FBLA states. Although their first face-to-face officer training was to be held in Reston, Va., in late July, it has been moved to a later date because of the pandemic.


Mackenzie Moore, a 2020 Wellsville graduate, also designed the winning Kansas FBLA Trading Pin that would have been traded at this summer's national conference if it were to have still been held in Salt Lake City. People across the state have still been purchasing her pins.