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MPISD – News

MPISD FBLA Middle-Level members at the National Leadership Conference in Chicago

Contact: Kelly Cowan

MPISD FBLA Middle-Level students win National awards

The Mount Pleasant ISD Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) Middle Level, grades 5th – 8th, competed at the National Leadership Conference in Chicago from June 27-July 3, bringing home two national awards.

Seventh-grade student Sabrina Otero-Svirska earned the Young Leader award. The Young Leader Award recognizes members with an extraordinary commitment to leadership and community service.

The Community Service project team of 5th graders Jaliyah Brown and Juan Mata and 6th grader Emily Crabb placed 10th in the Community Service Project category. The project collected over 100 pairs of shoes distributed to students in Titus County through the Titus County Cares for Kids program. The students also volunteered at Titus County Cares on Tuesday nights by helping pack food bags for needy students.

While in Chicago, the group visited Millennium Park and “The Bean .” They enjoyed a Chicago original gangster tour that took them back to the 1920s and 30s. They also traveled down the Chicago River and out into Lake Michigan, learning about the city’s architecture. The group took in a Chicago Cubs baseball game at Wrigley Field, a first for many of the students. And on the final day, the group visited the Museum of Illusions, exploring the vortex tunnel, sitting in the bucket chair, enjoying a game of cards at the clone table, putting their head on a platter, and much more.

“What an experience the Middle-Level students had in Chicago,” said advisor Dana Armstrong. “The students represented MPISD with pride during our time at the conference, and I am very proud of them all. Thank you to advisor La’Shandra Lewis, Leigh and Jace Baker, Kari Furnish, and Goldie Vaughn for helping during the week.”

Students competing for MPISD were Sage Jordan, Jayden Baker, Jaliyah Brown, Emily Crabb, Juan Mata, MyKaela King, Sabrina Otero-Svirska, and Alba Zeqaj, Ryan Burg, Isabella Furnish, and Aloani Laboy. Advisors on the trip were Dana Armstrong and La’Shandra Lewis.

Mount Pleasant ISD FBLA Middle Level was chartered at Wallace Middle School in the fall of 2018 with the help of Matthew Armstrong, 2018-19 MPHS FBLA President and Texas FBLA Area 6 State Vice-President, along with the MPHS FBLA advisor, John Whitten. The group has since expanded to include members from Mount Pleasant Junior High. For more information or to join the MPISD FBLA Middle Level, grades 5th-8th, contact Dana Armstrong at


MPHS FBLA Advisors Shanta Lockett and John Whitten with the MPHS Gold Seal Chapter Award of Merit

MPHS FBLA members compete at the National Leadership Conference.
Front row (L to R): Joseline Almazan, Joselyn Reyes, Evelyn Rodriguez, Elizabeth Lockett, Yasenia Paloblanco, Ilse Ojendis, Natalia Plascencia
Back row (L to R): Advisor Shanta Lockett, Luiz Olvera, Hope Powell, Taylor Hubbs, Tiffany Rangel, Odalys Adame, Connelly Cowan, Natalie Crockett, Perla Guzman, Anthony Orellana, Heidi Ramirez, Michelle Calderon, Advisor John Whitten


MPHS Future Business Leaders of America students compete at Nationals

The Mount Pleasant High School Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) had 18 students compete in the National Leadership Conference during the week of June 27-July 3 in Chicago, bringing home a national recognition award. In addition, they recognized MPHS with the Gold Seal Chapter Award of Merit, one of only ten high school chapters in Texas to be identified. The honor read “in recognition and appreciation of your chapter’s active participation in programs and projects advancing the goals of FBLA-PBL.” MPHS was also recognized as part of the ConnecTen by growing its chapter by more than ten students from the previous school year.

Students could explore the city and take in some cultures along with the competition. During the first two days, they visited Millennium Park. After that, they saw the famous “Bean,” took a riverboat architecture tour to learn more about the famous buildings in the Chicago skyline, shopped, and ate lunch at Navy Pier. They also went on a Gangster Bus Tour to learn about notorious criminals such as Al Capone and John Dillinger.

Later in the week after the competition, students attended a Cubs baseball game at the famous Wrigley Field, visited the Museum of Contemporary Art and Adler Planetarium, and spent some time along Lake Michigan. During the trip, students also got to experience eating deep-dish pizza and Chicago hot dogs and visiting a five-story Starbucks Reserve Roastery, one of only three in the USA.

FBLA Lead Advisor John Whitten said, “FBLA Nationals was a great experience for our students. Even though our students did not place in the top 10, I am very proud of them. For all of our students but two, this was their first experience competing on the national level, in-person or virtually. Our students had a great time competing, trading pins with students from around the country, attending Opening Ceremonies, and exploring the city of Chicago. I am so proud of them and how they represented MPHS. The Gold Seal Chapter Award of Merit indicates the hard work our entire chapter has put in to advance FBLA in our area and throughout the state. A big thank you also must go to my fellow advisor, Shanta Lockett, who was very helpful throughout the trip regarding transportation, planning, and helping students prepare.”

Students competing for MPHS were Odalys Adame, Joseline Almazan, Michelle Calderon, Connelly Cowan, Natalie Crockett, Perla Guzman, Taylor Hubbs, Beth Lockett, Ilse Ojendis, Luiz Olvera, Anthony Orellana, Yasenia Paloblanco, Natalia Plascencia, Hope Powell, Heidi Ramirez, Tiffany Rangel, Joselyn Reyes, and Evelyn Rodriguez. Advisors on the trip were John Whitten and Shanta Lockett.

For more information or to join MPHS FBLA, contact John Whitten at