OGDEN — Alexa Jorgenson and Cooper Ferrario were thrilled when they took top state honors at the Future Business Leaders of America competition last spring and were excited to go the nationals in Orlando, but the thrill of the state competition took a back seat to the thrill of taking fourth place on the national stage July 2.
The two just finished ninth grade at Mount Ogden Junior High and were some of the youngest competitors at the competition. Because they didn’t want their age to be a factor they did their homework, sprucing up everything from their design to their presentations, spending two to three hours a day since school closed for the summer.
FBLA students can compete in a wide range of categories from job interviewing competitions to computer skills. Jorgenson and Ferrario competed as a team in Digital Design and Promotion and had to come up with a logo and a slogan. Their slogan was, “Inspiring Tomorrow’s Leaders Today.”
Jorgenson said they felt their slogan went along well with the whole idea of what FBLA is.
“It was definitely hard coming up with the idea,” she said, but once they did, they ran with it. After the state competition, the judges gave them pointers to improve their logo and presentation.
Ferrario felt he and Jorgenson made a good team because he was familiar with the design program Photoshop.
“I decided I wanted to compete and I knew Alexa was a good artist and a female, so she had that creative side,” Ferrario said. They both enjoy public speaking, which is a huge component of the competition.
“I knew they had the potential if they had put in the time and effort,” said adviser Andrea Cluff. “I wasn’t in shock because of their talent, but I was extremely excited for them.”
Over 50 teams competed in their category and 12 teams were chosen to go to finals. Both Jorgenson and Ferrario said it was intense waiting until midnight before the final competition day to find out if they had made it to the final round.
“I was excited to make it to finals, but I didn’t expect to get higher than 9th or 10th because we are so young,” Jorgenson said.
“We just put on our game faces, said a prayer and went out and did our thing,” Ferrario said.
Cluff said that being young can work to the teams’ advantage because they want to be extra prepared and aren’t worried about taking advice, which some older competitors don’t always do. She enjoyed watching the two work together and work out the bugs in their presentation.
The competition was only part of what the made trip unforgettable for Jorgenson and Ferrario.
“It was awesome meeting tons of kids and I made lots of new friends,” Ferrario said.
Jorgenson, a huge Harry Potter fan, was quick to add that visiting Harry Potter World in Orlando was a huge highlight for her as well.
Cluff is feeling pretty proud of many of her students. Seven Mount Ogden Junior High students and one Ogden High School student attended the national competition. To qualify for nationals, students must place in the top three in the state competition. Cluff has never had any students place in the finals at nationals for her so it was very exciting to watch Jorgenson’s and Ferrario’s hard work pay off.
The two don’t know how much more FBLA they will do in high school, but will be active in extracurricular activities at any rate.
“I like to try new things, so I may try some other things, but I know for sure I will work in the business field,” Ferrario said.