Fairfield Ledger

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Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 20, 2018

FBLA hosts Pasta Night Friday

Lori Schaefer-Weaton to be honored; past FBLA members invited to attend
By Andy Hallman, Ledger news editor | Jan 31, 2018
Photo by: ANDY HALLMAN/Ledger photo Fairfield High School students Kobe Cassens-Navesse and Hermela Gebremariam get the kitchen ready to cook pasta. They are both members of the school’s chapter of Future Business Leaders of America, which will hold its annual Pasta Night Friday during the basketball games from 4:30-8 p.m. in the FHS Commons.

Fairfield High School’s Future Business Leaders of America will host its annual pasta night from 4:30-8 p.m. Friday in the FHS Commons.

The event coincides with the high school basketball teams hosting a girls’ and boys’ doubleheader against Keokuk. Lori Schaefer-Weaton will be recognized as Fairfield Iowa FBLA Business Person of the Year after the girls’ junior varsity game and before the girls’ varsity team warms up at 5:45 p.m. This marks the sixth year FBLA has recognized a local Iowa Business Person of the Year.

During that intermission and for the first time ever, FBLA will welcome back all FBLA and OEA alumni from FHS since the club began in 1972.

Photos from all the years of the club’s history will be on display, and a PowerPoint showing more pictures will play on a continual loop in the commons.



FBLA members will serve pasta and sauce, meatballs, garlic bread, dessert and bottled water. Diners will have their choice between penne or spaghetti pasta, alfredo or marinara sauce. The cost is $7. The money will defray the cost of sending FBLA members to the state conference.


FBLA history

This year marks the 22nd year FHS has maintained an FBLA chapter. It was chartered in the fall of 1972 and was active through 1977. It was reactivated in 1988 and remained active through 1992. The club lay dormant for more than a decade until it was brought back once more in 2005, and has been going strong ever since.

From 1977 until 1986, another co-curricular club called the Office Education Association was active, and today’s FHS FBLA chapter wishes to welcome alumni of that organization to take part in Friday’s festivities as well.

Linda Hird, Debbie Craft and Lucy Howarth were the advisors for the club’s first seven years. Current advisor Diane Goudy took the reins in 1979. Brad Repp, former business instructor, also helped with FBLA for several years. Brad Rose, former FHS activities director, helped FBLA as a business teacher substitute one semester when Goudy was on maternity leave.


Past members

Fairfield resident Jim Horras was a member of the inaugural FBLA club in 1972. He joined because he knew that he wanted to go into business of some kind, and high school was a good time to get his feet wet.

“We had an interesting group of classmates who took their classwork and their futures seriously,” he said.

Karla Rebling, a teacher associate at FHS for the past 22 years, was a member of the club her senior year, 1974-1975. She joined the group because it was new and intriguing, and it didn’t hurt that her friends were in it. She recalls participating in a spelling bee at the state FBLA competition at the University of Northern Iowa.

The business knowledge she gained has served her well in life, since she and her husband own a farm and run an aquaponic greenhouse.

Repp taught at FHS from 1987-2017, mostly business education, and during that time he spent many years helping Goudy with FBLA. He was not a member of FBLA himself in high school, though he was in the college version of it, Phi Beta Lambda.

“When I came back in 1987, I hoped we could start FBLA again,” he said. “Mrs. Goudy got it going and really made it stick. It’s very successful now.”

Repp recalled that the chapter was small in the late 1980s. The school sent a small table of people to state competitions, while other schools sent busloads of students.

“Now Fairfield is one of those bigger schools sending a full bus,” he said. “I did a little tutoring to help kids get ready for tests, but Mrs. Goudy did most of the work. She has been outstanding to the program.”


Current students

Hermela Gebremariam is a senior at FHS and is the chapter’s co-president. She has been a member of FBLA for three years.

“I heard from other students that it was a great organization and a good way to meet new people. Plus, it would develop my public speaking skills,” she said. “I competed in the social media campaign sophomore year, and I qualified for nationals. I saw myself improve as time went on that year.”

This year, Gebremariam is competing in a category called emerging business issues, which she’s doing with two other FBLA members. They will make a presentation on the positives and negatives of crowdsourcing, which obtains information about a project by enlisting the help of a large number of people, often via the internet.

She’s competing in Future Business Leader, which involves taking a test on her knowledge of business procedures. Lastly, she will participate in Battle of the Chapters, which is a trivia contest focusing on FBLA and its history. Gebremariam spends about five hours per week studying for these tests and preparing her group presentation.

Claire Epperson and Lauren Kraemer are freshmen in their first year of membership. Epperson said upperclassmen encouraged her to join. She agreed to try it, and is glad she did.

Kraemer said one of the highlights this year was attending Mentor Night in November, when community members shared their experiences in business with FBLA.

“They talked to us about what they do in their job and what you need to do to get that job,” Kraemer said. “I went to one about real estate [from June Lowenberg], and learned about the degree you need for it.”

Epperson said her goal is to make it to nationals some day. Even if that doesn’t happen, she hopes to learn more about leadership skills. Kraemer agreed, saying she had learned much this year about business practices.


Public showcase

FHS’s chapter will host a showcase March 5 so the public can see their performances before the state competition in April. The event starts at 5:30 p.m. at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center. FHS will send 49 students to the state meet where about 800 students from Iowa will compete for a chance to go to nationals.


Lori Schaefer-Weaton

In addition to being recognized Friday night, Schaefer-Weaton will be recognized at the 2018 Spring State Leadership Conference in Coralville. She has been a strong advocate for FBLA. As president of Agri-Industrial Plastics, her company has sponsored the FBLA Showcase in the spring for its members, parents, and community. She is willing to give presentations at the showcase and also informally shares FBLA news.

She has repeatedly been a mentor at the FBLA mentor evening. Schaefer-Weaton has shared her story of being an executive and major driving force in the manufacturing environment in Fairfield.

She has also hosted a field trip to Agri-Industrial Plastics for FHS’s FBLA chapter. She promotes the Business Horizons Program when she is with interested parents, community members, and students.

Schaefer-Weaton has also served and continues to serve on the FHS CTE Advisory council for many years.

“She gives of her time, she contributes financially both personally, as well as through her company, and she gives of her talents,” said a news release from FBLA.

Schaefer-Weaton is married to Nate Weaton, who has served as an FBLA chaperone at state conference last year and led a fundraising effort for FBLA nationals last year. Her daughter, Cami, is a four-year member and co-president of the Fairfield Chapter, and her freshman daughter Abbie is in her first year as an FBLA member.

Iowa Business Person of the Year Recognition in the past have honored Jodi Kerr, Michele Greiner & Joanne Hietpas, Jean Greco, Lori Mueller, and Lindsay Lippincott.





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