FBLA makes connection to community, prepare for competition

Alongside Highway 370,  FBLA members, Drew Vetter (11), Aiden Stoakes (11) and Camryn Reeson (11), work together to pick up litter.
Alongside Highway 370, FBLA members, Drew Vetter (11), Aiden Stoakes (11) and Camryn Reeson (11), work together to pick up litter.
Onnika Moore

With the sun beating down on their backs, hot black trash bags gripped in their hands, and sweat glistening on their foreheads, members from both high schools’ Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) started their community service journey.
They met at noon in the parking lot of Kocian Dental off of 200th and Glenwood Dr., all decked out in bright, neon clothes and vests and packed into sponsors Wade Tracy’s (Gretna East) and Chris Swantek’s (Gretna High) cars. From there, they drove down the street to the section of Highway 370 just west of the Gretna HyVee.
The group, consisting of five of the 12 members from the school and several others from Gretna, spent an hour cleaning up trash between 195th Street and 192nd Street.
“They chose 370 because it is the biggest highway in Gretna,” FBLA president, junior Braden Lofquest said.
This event was not a new service project. Last year, members from GHS started the roadside cleanup. It became a tradition that they decided to continue as long as the weather was cooperative. Lofquest was part of that group..
“It was nice that both schools came together, uniting the schools while helping the community,” he said.
New members also saw the value of the service project.
“It was pretty easy,” junior member Aiden Stoakes said. “I think it’s good for our community. We try to help and make a difference.”
Junior Drew Vetter, another new member and newly elected treasurer, also enjoyed the experience.
“I felt good about myself,” Vetter said. “Me and my friend picked up about five bags of trash in total.”
The group plans to continue its mission of giving back to the community and has already made arrangements to volunteer throughout the school year. As potential future business professionals, the group sees the worth of helping the community that they live in and may eventually work in or start their businesses in.
“It’s a big part of the club,” Lofquest said. “Helping out the school and the community contributes to Gretna as a whole.”
To continue to plan and organize events, the group holds monthly club meetings in Matt Renshaw’s classroom, room 152. During the fall, Renshaw took over as the main FBLA sponsor for Tracy as he coached softball, and Tracy will do the same for Renshaw when he coaches baseball in the spring.
In addition to planning community service events, they plan to apply to attend the FBLA National Leadership Conference, which will be held during the summer. The application process is a series of mini-competitions, such as accounting, public speaking, visual design and so much more. The results from the application process will determine who qualifies for the national competition.
“I think a few of us can make it,” Lofquest said. “If everyone tries hard enough, we could all go.”
Members will also be able to apply and compete in local competitions. They will be able to compete against schools from across Nebraska in a variety categories. These competitions will take place in the spring at Peru State, Kearney and Lincoln according to Renshaw.
While they already have plans in the works, the group is still accepting members and has put up flyers throughout the school inviting anyone interested to join their next meeting, which will be Nov. 21 at 7:15 a.m.

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