“We do so much at Wellsville, we are one of the most active chapters in the state and the largest in the state 1A through 6A schools,” Dawn Rottinghaus, Wellsville FBLA adviser, said.
Four Wellsville High School students — Chase Bouse and Ashley Ebeck, Class of 2014 graduates, Ashtyn Rottinghaus, an incoming junior, and Hailey Watson, an incoming senior, recently returned from the FBLA-PBL National Leadership Conference in Nashville where they earned three top-five finishes, including a national championship against other high school students from across the United States and two other countries.
With 60-plus business-related competitions and more than 10,000 total competitors at the conference, fewer than 10 percent of the students get to go up on stage at the national conference to win an award, Dawn Rottinghaus, said. Wellsville represented Kansas strongly, she said, taking home the national championship in the Local Chapter Annual Business Report, which Rottinghaus said classifies Wellsville as the top chapter in the nation.
“Ashtyn got all [the information about our chapter’s activity] and comprised it into a 30-page report ... and submitted it,” Dawn Rottinghaus, said. “We’ve got a couple of second [places] before, but never a national championship. We also won $500 for our chapter.”
The championship not only was a first in the Wellsville chapter’s 38-year history, but it was just one of several wins for Wellsville at the event. Ebeck attended the conference previously, but made her final trip a memorable one, Rottinghaus said. She represented the Top FBLA student from Kansas in the national Who’s Who group, not only walking across the stage to be acknowledged, but also was among those presented $100 for her accomplishments, Rottinghaus said.
“She’s [gone to the conference] for three years” she said. “This was her last chance to win an award. She was just ecstatic.”
Ebeck, Bouse and Ashtyn Rottinghaus also competed in the American Enterprise project and placed fourth in the nation. The project included writing a report about the American Enterprise Workshops that the FBLA students present to the local fifth-grade students.
“Chase Bouse went last year but didn’t make finals. Unfortunately, we made finals this year, but he had to leave early, so all of his updates were coming from texts and twitter.”
Each student at nationals can only compete in one individual event, not including such chapter events as the Local Chapter Annual Business Report and American Enterprise Project, which allowed Ashtyn Rottinghaus, Dawn Rottinghaus’ daughter, to compete in one more event. She rounded out her sophomore campaign at the conference by placing fourth in the nation in the job interview event.
“It was unbelievable, I was shocked,” Dawn Rottinghaus said. “For her to get fourth is pretty amazing because most of kids she was competing against were upperclassmen. She placed in every event she was in or a team member of, and each one of them were top five finishes. [The state FBLA chairman and I] are almost positive, she is the first Kansas student to ever do this.”
Although Watson did not place in top 10 in her event, Business Procedures, she represented Kansas as a top performer, Rottinghaus said.
“She didn’t win [individually], but she was right there sharing the moment,” she said. “As I mentioned before, these were unbelievable feats. It was a great time to celebrate with the kids. They all represented Wellsville, Wellsville High School, Wellsville FBLA and Kansas extremely well. I couldn’t have been more proud of the kids.”
Before the four were able to compete in nationals, they first had to place in the top two at the state level at the end of March in Lawrence.
For the coming school year, Rottinghaus said she has 131 members in Wellsville FBLA chapter and hopes to make another trip to the nation conference, set for June 29 through July 2, 2015, in Chicago.
“I’m hoping that I have some underclassmen step up,” she said. “Ashtyn has really stepped up and done some things. We are planning on doing a big community service project again to hopefully compete at the state and national level. There are kids that have to put forth a lot of effort.”