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Davis Journal

Student places first in National FBLA competition

Aug 31, 2021 11:37AM ● By Becky Ginos

Gwen Wilson plans to use her experience in FBLA to create her own business. Courtesy photo

LAYTON—It’s not often that a ninth grader tops students from across the country in the National FBLA competition but Gwen Wilson did just that, placing first in Business Etiquette at the 2021 contest.

“Gwen joined FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) as a seventh grade student and it was our first year having FBLA at Central Davis,” said teacher Reta Baughman. We were all guinea pigs (for lack of a better term) together. We told the students to pick a competitive event that they would like to compete in, then we would conduct research to learn more about those events.”

Baughman said Gwen chose Business Etiquette and did intensive research that she shared with everyone. “She studied her heart out and she placed in the top 5 in our first state competition. She did the same thing her eight grade year and during her ninth grade year she placed first in the state competition.”

She also placed in the top five for Elevator Speech at the state competition, said Baughman. “First place state winners get to attend the National Competition to compete against other first place candidates from across 47 other states.”

“I thought the FBLA club sounded interesting because I enjoyed learning about business stuff in class,” said Wilson, who just started her sophomore year at Layton High School. “I had a good teacher.”

The Business Etiquette category included a multiple choice test with a list of topics, said Wilson. “We also had to show table manners like where the salt shakers go and which countries bang on their tables, etc. It’s kind of a toss up on which questions you’ll get.”

Wilson also competed in the Elevator Speech event. “You’re given 30 seconds to speak on an assigned topic like the March of Dimes or explain FBLA to the mayor and how you’ve grown through it,” she said. “It’s a quick pitch on something to someone.”

Judging is based on a rubric, said Wilson. “Things like if you dress well, speak clearly, communicate your points well and stay within the time limit. It was pretty nerve racking, I had to take deep breaths and do stuff after so I didn’t worry about it.”

“Gwen placed first out of 25 competitors,” Baughman said. “There were 50 questions and the lowest score was 30. Gwen had the highest score, 45.”

Because of COVID, the National competition was virtual this year, she said. “We watched the award ceremony online in our own homes. When I saw that she placed first against all of the other first place competitors for the Business Etiquette event, I cried. It was so amazing to see this young lady figure everything out herself and become number one in her event in the country. Wow. She is that cool.”

Wilson plans to use her business savvy to build her own company in the future. “My dream is to open a business weaving clothes that I make and combine both things I love,” she said. “I like to make skirts and bags. I’m working on an Audrey Hepburn themed skirt and an 1880 corset.”

She is also a dancer and a writer. “I like to write fiction and fantasy,” Wilson said. “I want to do fun, happy stuff. It would be nice to be published someday.”

Wilson plans to attend college and major in fashion design construction. “I’ll minor in business,” she said. “I would love to attend one of those fancy fashion places – that’s the dream.”