The faculty and staff at Randolph Technical Center in Elkins have plenty of reasons to celebrate - they have 10 Future Business Leaders of America students who participated in a national competition, not to mention an instructor selected as Outstanding Business Education Instructor of the year.
Donald Johnson, director of career and technical education at Randolph Technical Center, said he is proud of the students who competed in the FBLA National Leadership Conference this summer.
"Our Future Business Leaders of America students were excellent representatives for our school and for West Virginia," Johnson said. "Students that score in the top 10 in the nation are definitely outstanding and we are proud of them."
Students Daniel Toney, Aaron Nelan and Dylan Shannon placed sixth in the National FBLA competition in computer game and simulation programming. The competition, in Anaheim, Calif., drew more than 7,000 students from across the United States and U.S. territories. Randolph Technical Center students competing in California include Toney, Nelan, Shannon, Devan Collins, David Tighe, Jennifer Daniels, Colleen Webley, Colleen Cunningham, Gretchen Keller and Meghann Tenney.
"Traveling to California and competing was fun," Toney said. "This is the farthest I have ever traveled, and it was a great experience. It was also fun to meet people from across the United States who shared the same interests as I have."
Toney said the trip offered him many different experiences and sharpened his public speaking skills.
"We had to present the game and speak about it once in the state competition and twice during the national competition," Toney said. "I feel I have improved my presentation skills. I hope to compete next year, but I will be competing in the digital career portfolio category. Locally, I serve the FBLA club as president at the Randolph Technical Center."
Denise Stalnaker, one of the FBLA advisors at the Randolph Technical Center, said she and the other advisors were very proud of the group. Other advisors include Elwood Sites and Christina Waybright.
"We are proud of the students for the countless hours they gave in preparing, practicing and perfecting their presentations and projects," Stalnaker said. "They put in a tremendous amount of work and did a great job."
The group attended the competition, meetings and conference sessions. During the down time, they went to a Dodgers game, toured Hollywood and went to Knott's Berry Farm.
"We are very thankful for the support we received for this trip from the community," Stalnaker said. "The trip cost nearly $30,000, and we had great support from many individuals and businesses, making this trip a reality."
Stalnaker said the Randolph Technical Center FBLA students are gearing up for next year's state and national competition.
"The national competition will be in Nashville, Tenn.," Stalnaker said. "We are hoping to have another great delegation for that as well."
Stalnaker also was selected as the West Virginia Business Education Association Teacher of the Year. Johnson said her selection was no surprise to those at the Randolph Technical Center.
"When you consider that Denise is a national board-certified teacher - and that she has written curriculum, created several state-adopted concentrations of study and worked to train other West Virginia teachers - she certainly exemplifies an outstanding instructor. She certainly deserves this recognition."
Debra Conrad, a retired West Virginia FBLA advisor, said Stalnaker is deserving of the recognition.
"Denise has skills that have been recognized by educators, institutions and national leaders in education," Conrad said. "She has also made contributions to the business education profession on the local, state and national levels."
Stalnaker said she was excited with the designation.
"It's surprising and a great honor," Stalnaker said. "I feel like I was just doing my job and I enjoy what I do."
Stalnaker, who has been teaching for 30 years, said she feels fortunate to have been able to work with a great many different people during her career.
"I have taught elementary, middle and high school students," Stalnaker said. "I have also worked with adults in community education courses and classes in journalism. Currently, I teach web page publishing design, digital imaging and game design at the Randolph Technical Center."
She said she thinks the classes she teaches are relevant to students' current and future lives.
"When students start working in the work force, they will be expected to have advanced computer skills," Stalnaker said. "These courses prepare them to handle situations in the work force and help prepare them for college."
Stalnaker attended Coalton 12-Year School and earned her Bachelor of Science degree at Fairmont State College. She attended West Virginia University, where she earned a master's degree. Stalnaker has taught for 18 years at the Randolph Technical Center in Elkins.