Farragut doesn’t necessarily have a business program within its curriculum but if Shawn Simon ’17 continues exerting his passionate influence, things might soon change.
The transfer from Strawberry Crest International Baccalaureate High School, a public school in Hillsborough County, has generated excitement within the student body at Farragut by introducing and helping form two clubs on campus that are centered around business and have chapters throughout the world:
- DECA, which is an international association of high school and college students and teachers, was created in 1946 – and originally known as Distributive Education Clubs of America – as a way for students to prepare themselves in leadership roles in marketing, finance, hospitality and management.
- Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), which is the largest career student organization in the world, according to its website. The mission is “to bring business and education together in a positive working relationship through innovative leadership and career development programs.”
“He’s been incredibly enthusiastic about what he wants to do,” said Mr. Stephen Mikell, who has taken on the task of being advisor for both clubs. “He had participated in these clubs at his previous high school and he came to me about starting the clubs. There has been a great response by the other students and I can only see this getting bigger and better.”
The Farragut students in DECA besides Shawn include: Trevor Bennatti ‘17, Sasha DeSilva ‘16, George Dyche ‘16, Zach Fine ‘17, Elizabeth Gaskins ‘16, Matthew Hajek ‘17, Stephen Mikell, Jr. ‘19, Jack Seabrook ‘16, and John Winters ‘16, who all competed at the district tournament in Tampa in January.
Trevor, Zach, Matthew, Stephen, and John advanced in the individual portion of the competition and will compete at the state tournament in March in Orlando. Zach and Trevor, who came up with marketing strategies to help boost television ratings as a part of their respective project, advanced in the team event for Sports and Entertainment Marketing.
“This is incredibly beneficial because we don’t have business classes (at Farragut),” said Zach, who is also a member of the boy’s basketball team. “It was inspirational to be around so many people my age who are interested in business. It’s exciting to learn about what other students are doing and thinking about what we can do back here at Farragut.”
Zach and Shawn, who both competed at the FBLA district meet, will represent Farragut at the FBLA state competition after finishing in the top three in their respective categories. Zach advanced due to securing one of the highest scores for the test on Securities and Investments while Shawn won in Cyber Security.
Mr. Mikell said Morgan Barse, a senior from Riverview High who serves as a vice president in Florida’s DECA Board of Officers, will be visiting the Farragut team that is moving on to state. According to Mr. Mikell, Morgan will be letting the team know what to expect at the state competition and how to improve upon our early success.
For Shawn, who has been participating in career technical civic associations since seventh grade, having a state officer come to Farragut represents an opportunity for the school to grow.
“FBLA is good for building your leadership skills, your business skills, your entrepreneurial skills, even your IT skills,” said Shawn, who won the FBLA national competition last year. “Going to these events will allow us to network and meet some incredible people and listen to impressive speakers. These types of clubs didn’t exist here and I just thought it would be perfect for the types of students who go here.”