April 6, 2020
By Carolyne Mooney
Senior Gillian Burns intended to spend March 18-20 dressed in her finest business attire for the Future Business Leaders of America State Leadership Conference in Atlantic City, N.J. However, with states canceled due to the coronavirus, she instead found herself passing those days at home in pajamas doing homework at her dining room table.
“I was pretty upset when I found out that states were canceled because it is always a great experience going, and you learn a lot of things and meet new people,” Burns said.
Burns, who participated in the State Leadership Conference twice before, said she was looking forward to competing in the Emerging Business Issues event this year.
Burns said she and her groupmates seniors Frankie Ferrandino and Jianna Grasso had been practicing hard because they wanted their final presentation at states to be perfect. Now, Burns worries her group’s preparation will go to waste.
“My feelings on the coronavirus is that it has taken a toll on my senior year, and [I am] missing out on making memories with my friends,” Burns said.
Although students will no longer be traveling to Atlantic City to compete, New Jersey FBLA has not ruled out the possibility of holding a virtual State Leadership Conference.
Co-advisors Mrs. Jankowski and Mrs. Silvelo said that as soon as they get any news from New Jersey FBLA, they will pass it along to their members.
“In the event that we do attend virtually, we will help them brush up their presentations and get them ready to compete, be it virtually or any other way necessary,” Silvelo said.
This is not the first time plans for the State Leadership Conference have gone awry.
“Two years ago, there was a snowstorm the week we were supposed to go [to Atlantic City]. In order to beat the snow, we left Tuesday instead of the scheduled Wednesday. Thankfully, everything worked out in our favor and everything went as planned,” Silvelo said.
LHS’ FBLA team has attended states for over 15 years, and Silvelo said students were sad to hear the news that the trip was being canceled.
“We were supposed to leave the week after we were told to stay home, so most of our teams were ready to go,” Silvelo said.
She said this year’s National Leadership Conference was scheduled to take place in Salt Lake City, Utah. Those plans are now at a standstill. Silvelo said on April 20, the national FBLA organization will make a final decision regarding the much-anticipated competition.
Junior Nick Morelli, who participated in states twice before, said he felt upset when he found out about states getting canceled because he had prepared extensively for the Sales Presentation event.
“I was so excited to present my PowerPoint on the object I was selling,” Morelli said. “Sales can help me do a number of tasks in life.”
Morelli said he never made it to nationals and hoped he would earn a spot with his presentation this year.
He said New Jersey FBLA has done a good job handling a difficult situation.
“The coronavirus ruined a lot of events and is very serious,” Morelli said. “I am ready to present virtually if that’s what happens.”