WEEKI WACHEE — Weeki Wachee High School has added Future Business Leaders of America to the list of organizations it offers to students as the school grows.
Having opened in the fall of 2010, the school graduates its first four-year class this year.
Computer lab manager Lori Howie has taken on FBLA as its adviser.
"I'm a business major, and I started at the school this year. It's a needed job," Howie said.
The group currently has 16 members, and they have a lot to say about FBLA, its purpose, what it means to them and how it would benefit any student who joined.
"It's to prepare students in high school for future business roles (such as) finance, management and economics," said junior Alison Wilfong, 17. "It also develops leadership skills."
"I feel like we also better the community," said junior Victoria Adesso, 16. "We don't just focus on leadership."
Howie mentioned one upcoming service project.
"We're going to partner with Habitat for Humanity to help them build their next house," she said.
On another project, club president Nikhita Flagg, 17, worked with sophomore Stephanie Miller, 17, for a Literacy Week program. The two put together baskets of school supplies for children of parents attending literacy classes through Hernando's Education for Adult Readers in Training, or HEART.
"It had a whole variety of things that tied in with literacy," Flagg said.
Some students brought in books to give to Eastside Elementary School, and club members are looking into doing some work with the March of Dimes.
"The club isn't just for business and community services," said Frank Schooley, 18. "It's to get together as a school, different grades, to get to know each other."
Some of the students had personal reasons for joining.
"I joined because I'm not a very social person," said freshman Gavin Walsh, 15, "and I thought it would be an opportunity to get out of the box."
Senior Hannah Dennis, 17, had another reason.
"It's just a great opportunity to sharpen your skills in the real world," she said. "It's something you can really use, and it looks really good on a resume."
Dennis is the club's vice president.
"It's a great club, and I encourage everybody to try it out," she said.
"It's helped me stop being so shy around people," said Miller, the club's secretary.
The other officers are senior Naomi Waldron, 18, treasurer; Wilfong, parliamentarian; and Erica Finkel, 17, historian.
Some of the students went to their first district competition in January, and six of the nine placed. Miller placed first in the help desk category. Schooley earned second place in job interviews. Dennis won third place in impromptu speaking.
Flagg won fourth place on the digital design and promotion team. Adesso placed fourth in public speaking, and freshman Vladimir Cius, 15, placed fifth in client services.
Six students will be going to the state leadership conference in March in Orlando. The students are seeking sponsors. Individuals, organizations or businesses that wish to help may contact Howie at email@example.com.