Mt. Blue’s FBLA complete multiple projects
By Alexandra Baxter, reporter for MBHS Chapter of FBLA
It is no secret among staff, students and the community that the members of the Mt. Blue High School’s chapter of Future Business Leaders of America are seriously service oriented. This entire school year, energies have been focused on numerous activities which have benefited MBHS students, teachers, the community and the veterans living at the Togus Veteran’s Hospital in Augusta.
During the past few months of this current school year, members of this popular student organization have planned and completed some outstanding projects. The following are what the members are most proud of.
Picked a kindergarten class at Mallett School to educate students on a safe Halloween. Members prepared an information sheet giving hints on how to plan for a safe and fun night. Healthy goodie bags for each child were prepared and FBLA member went to the school dressed in costume on Halloween Day. Members sat with the children and talked about how to have a safe night Trick or Treating. They asked the children to share his/her plans, describe his/her costume, who would be accompanying them, the importance of checking all candy before eating any of it, and then gave each child a goodie bag. This was a great bonding experience. The children were friendly, well behaved and eager to talk with the teenagers. This was a successful project.
For the past 15 years FBLA has adopted a RSU 9 family that might be having some financial stress during the Thanksgiving holiday. With the help of the high school guidance counselor, a family was found and the organization started to plan the holiday dinner. A menu was created and each FBLA member signed up to donate a food item. Some members even donated more than one item. We are very fortunate that the managers of our local Hannaford supermarket have always donated the turkey to FBLA. Our partnership with Hannaford has allowed FBLA to give both a Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner to a local family. We provided groceries for an entire week. Our chapter Historian, Melissa Brady, who is a talented artist, designed a beautiful Thanksgiving card to accompany the meal. All FBLA members signed the card with many good wishes for a wonderful family dinner. Three members drove to the home and personally delivered the meal. Many ‘thanks’ were expressed, lots of smiles and honest appreciation for the thoughtfulness extended to the family.
During November, the school nurse sent out a plea for help with needed hygiene products for students at MBHS. This was a new and different project for us to tackle, but we were glad to help. Vice President, Danika Morin, with help from other members lead to completion of this project. She went to the local Family Dollar Tree store, spoke with a manager about the need, and hoped they would be willing to help. Happily, the Dollar Tree Store donated a $300 gift card to FBLA to use for any product on the needs list. Members went shopping after school and spent $159 on toothpaste, deodorant, soap, shampoo, towels, face clothes, etc. These purchases now will ensure that any MBHS student could be provided with these necessities. The remaining money was set aside for future needs.
December is always a special month for unique project for FBLA. One is creating Christmas cards for each veteran living at Togus Veterans Hospital in Augusta. Each member volunteers to create several cards. The cards included a message stating our appreciation for their service to our country and citizens. We mailed over 100 cards to Togus and later learned that they were placed on the Christmas dinner trays of the veterans. Recently, we received a letter from the Social Activities Director at Togus thanking us for our thoughtfulness. She said many of the veterans chose to keep the cards and taped them on the wall or door in their room. The phrase: “No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care” has a new meaning to each FBLA member. We have been doing this activity for the past 5 years.
Winter in Maine is brutal. The temperatures reach the negatives dozens of times during the season. To make sure that everyone in the community has a coat to keep them warm, FBLA puts a school wide request for the donation of good, used jackets and coats that he/she does not wear anymore. A large donation box is placed in our advisor, Mrs. Conner’s room, and students, secretaries, teachers and support staff drop of donations. The box is overflowing with lovely clothing ready to pass on to someone in need. We have given clothing to MBHS students and donated the bulk of the collected items to the Farmington Children’s Task Force. This project ran for two months and the clothing will be delivered in February. This project has collected well over 800 coats since ‘Coats for Kids’ started six years ago.
One of our MBHS students was recently involved in a serious accident, which required hospitalization and months of recuperating. Joe King is a well liked student in the SAD 9 district and he was missed very much. FBLA had Melissa Brady, our historian, design a bright yellow T-shirt with an outline of Joe wearing his headphones in the center. We are asking his at MBHS to sign the shirt with well wished for a quick return to school. Joe is currently back at school for a few hours during the day, conveying a positive spirit. Welcome back, Joe.
Midterm exam week can be a stressful time for all students. FBLA members volunteered to stay after school to back off cookies for sale during this week. The bake sale was a hit, and we sold out in one day. FBLA members had a fun afternoon baking under the guidance of future pastry chef and chapter president, Derek Haley.
February 14th is Teacher Appreciation Day for FBLA members. Each year we arrive at school no late than 6:45 and decorate the faculty lounge in Valentine mode. Red, pink and white hearts, balloons, streamers and a large cake is awaiting the staff when they arrive. Once again, Melissa Brady designs a meaningful card of thanks to be shared by all teachers. The message on the cake is, "We appreciate all you do for the students of MBHS." The cake is usually gone before lunch time.
This student organization is financially funded by many activities to cover the cost of attending a state sponsored, two-day Leadership Conference held each year in Portland. Students sell pies, Christmas wreaths, Rada Cutlery, sponsor a dance, hold bake sales, car washes, collect bottles and any project that will add to the bank account. This year FBLA members from around the state will gather at a Portland hotel to compete in various activities centered around business and the world of work. The conference is March 11th and 12th. Our chapter has earned the money for 20 members to attend and compete, at no cost to the member. The entire cost is $2,234. SAD 9 will cover the cost of two chaperones and Mr. Glenn Kapiloff has offered to cover the cost of the bus. FBLA raised all funds and is ready to compete, win ribbons and trophies. Our goal is to bring back honors to MBHS.