There’s a new club in town, at least at Van-Far High School.
The district started its inaugural Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) student organization this year. Kassi Slater, club president, said the group has 15 members. Ciara Craven holds the vice president spot, Samantha Lenk is serving as secretary-treasurer, and Nathan Kraft serves as reporter for the group.
“Mr. (Joe) Basinger and I have been working together to get students motivated,” Slater said. “I think it really focuses on the business students and gives them more opportunities to focus on their career choices.”
Slater is a senior at Van-Far High School and plans to major in accounting at Columbia College in Columbia, Mo., next fall.
Noting the success of other career technical student organizations (CTSOs) at Van-Far such as FFA and FCCLA, Basinger agreed that FBLA will give students focusing on the business world more opportunities at Van-Far.
“With the other CTSOs as successful as they are, (Van-Far) wanted to add a different career path opportunity for students,” Basinger said. “I’m really happy to get more opportunities here for the students. I was very active in FFA when I went to school here. (FBLA) gives students another opportunity to be involved in a different school organization.”
He added the organization started in part per Missouri’s mandate to keep the business education program at Van-Far a state-approved program tied into federal Perkins funds.
So far in the school year, Van-Far’s FBLA helped participants of Special Olympic Bowling held at Spare Time Bowl and Grill in Vandalia in October.
At the upcoming Friday, December 7 varsity boys and girls basketball games, FBLA will host “Paint it Pink.”
“The night of the game is going to be all about cancer awareness,” Basinger said. “‘Paint it Pink’ is our big community service project.”
Basinger said he feels strongly about bringing greater awareness to cancer because it affects so many in Vandalia and elsewhere. Several events will be held during the game.
The organization is also selling double-walled insulated cups. Van-Far fans can purchase one cup for $8 or two cups for $15 at home games or by contacting Basinger at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Basinger said having the new student organization at Van-Far also allows business-oriented students a chance to compete in their future realm of expertise. He said Van-Far FBLA district competition will be held at the end of February at Hannibal-LaGrange University. State competition will be at the end of April.
Basinger is a 2004 graduate of Van-Far. He taught science and served as assistant coach to the Van-Far Indians football squad four years ago. Basinger attended Northwest Missouri State University and has completed a certificate program in business education. He is currently completing his master’s degree.
“I like this area,” he said. “I like to be close to family and friends. I believe in this school through and through.”