By Robert Stoneback
The Danville News
Three high school business champions will be able to attend national championships this summer thanks to a donation from local American Legion members.
High school students Steven Zhang, Ryan Conrad and Andy Nguyen were named state champions in the “Emerging Business Issues” category at the state Future Business Leaders of America championship April 15 to 17 in Hershey. The competition required the students to debate topics such as whether or not income tax rates on corporations should be lowered to keep them in the country.
However, due to lack of district funds, the students needed to raise close to $4,000 to attend the national championship from June 27 to July 1 in California.
Once word got out that the students were looking for donations, American Legion Post 40 and the Sons of American Legion jumped at the chance to help the students.
“We had the money the next day,” said high school FBLA adviser Laurie Allison. “It was amazing.”
Members of the Legion and Sons of the American Legion presented the checks to the students May 15. The Legion donated $3,000 with the Sons of the American Legion donating an additional $1,000.
That money will be used to cover hotel, food and transportation costs for the students.
“It was never a question of how much they needed,” said Dean Von Blohn, commander of American Legion Post 40. The matter was brought before the Legion’s board as soon as they learned the funds were needed. “They jumped right on it. It was unanimous,” Von Blohn said.
Accompanying the students and helping them prepare will be Allison and school forensics coach Mike Nailor. “Taking the kids there is what’s important to me,” Allison said.
Danville Legion members are proud to sponsor the trip, said Von Blohn.
“Sports historically get all the recognition and its more than just sports,” he said. “These will be the people who hopefully will become leaders of our nation and the industries within our nation.”
Ryan, along with fellow FBLA member Ben Fait, has won two prior FBLA national championships. Ben also qualified to attend the national championships, but will not be able to attend due to family commitments.
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