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Four GSSM Students Compete Nationally in FBLA National Leadership Conference

July 25, 2022

HARTSVILLE, S.C. (July 25, 2022) – Four South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics (GSSM) students recently competed against 12,000 high school students in theFBLA National Leadership Conference (FBLA NLC) in Chicago.

GSSM students, James Hammond, Jessica Hu, Wanging (Sherry) Kong and Mritika Senthil went head-to-head in a variety of academic competitions with some of the most intelligent high school students from around the United States.

“We are proud of our Govies for performing so well at the state level to be invited to attend the national FBLA conference this summer,” said GSSM President Danny Dorsel. “Even though these students were in the middle of their summer research, they were able to take time away to represent their school and state. I’m excited to see the impact these students have in South Carolina and beyond with their solid STEM education coupled with their business acumen.”

Hammond said, “The FBLA NLC not only helped me network to eventually get a jump start in my career in finance, but it also allowed me to explore one of the largest cities in the U.S.”

GSSM students competed in a wide variety of academic competitions, including International Business, Business Ethics, Graphic Design, Personal Finance, Sales Presentations, Sports and Entertainment Management and more.

“GSSM FBLA are a dynamic group of students who grow their leadership, business, and personal and professional development skills through FBLA and presentations by GSSM alumnithroughout the year,” said Beth Dinndorf, Executive Director of the GSSM Foundation and FBLA advisor. “I'm proud of the accomplishments of these students at the FBLA National Leadership Conference and of all GSSM students who participated in FBLA throughout the school year and competed in the South Carolina State Conference.”

In addition to the academic competitions, GSSM students attended workshops that covered leadership, business and personal and professional development. They also participated in the state pin trading networking event by trading South Carolina 2022 FBLA National Conference pins with other high school students from around the world.

“During my trip to Chicago, I was accompanied by a wonderful team and advisor, had amazingfood and gained invaluable experiences,” Kong said. “We attended workshops, traded state pins, campaigned, competed, and networked. We were able to develop communication, public speaking, presentation skills, and so much more. All of that would accompany us for a lifetime. I am truly grateful to my team, Mrs. Dinndorf, and GSSM for giving me this opportunity and making this experience unforgettable.”

Senthil said, “Our trip to Chicago was a valuable experience, not only for academic purposes, but also because we were able to network with fellow competitors from across the country and abroad! Whether exploring the city or practicing my presentation, I was incredibly grateful for the company of my team. We also would not have been able to experience such an unforgettable event without the support of Ms. Dinndorf and GSSM throughout the conference!”

Hu said, “The Chicago trip was honestly one of my most valuable experiences. I greatly appreciated the opportunity to network and collaborate with rising leaders from around the nation, whether that was through pin trading or workshops. It pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped me grow personally with a set of new interpersonal skills to use in and outside of school. I am forever thankful for the experience.

GSSM is now gearing up for the new school year. Residential students will begin moving into the Hartsville campus in early August. Accelerate and STEM Foundation students will begin virtual classes around the state in mid-August.