Zach Coleman, a Lehighton Area High School student, and his adviser, Kim Mychaliszyn-Simko, attended the Future Business Leaders of American National Leadership Conference from June 27-July 3 in San Antonio, Texas.

Zach represented LAHS and Pennsylvania in the Accounting I event. He qualified for the national conference by placing first at the Pennsylvania State Leadership Conference in April.

More than 8,000 students traveled to San Antonio to showcase their talents as future business leaders, and competed for the opportunity to win over $95,000 in cash awards. This year's national theme was "FBLA: Gateway to Greatness."

The competition was part of a comprehensive national competitive events program sponsored by FBLA that recognizes and rewards excellence in a broad range of business and career-related areas. In addition to the competitions, students immersed themselves in educational workshops, visited an information-packed exhibit hall, and attended motivational keynotes on a broad range of business topics.

Numerous fundraising activities: Krispy Kreme doughnut sale, Teacher Dress Down Day, and Senior Assembly DVD sale, took place to help defray the cost of the conference, which the school district funded. Monetary donations from the following were also received: George Ebbert, LHS teacher; Brad Ohl, R.F. Ohl Fuel; Walker's Landscaping; Lehighton Legion Auxiliary 314; Shoemaker-Haydt Post; George's Transportation; and Zimmerman's Dairy.

In addition to students from the United States, participants included those from the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The 8,300 delegates for the 60th annual conference elected the national student officers. Brendan Hopkins from Wissahickon High School in Pennsylvania became the National Parliamentarian for the 2012-2013 school year by achieving the highest score on the Parliamentary Procedure objective test.

Future Business Leaders of America is the largest and oldest student business organization. It is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) education association with a quarter million members and advisers in over 6,500 active middle school, high school, and college chapters worldwide. Its mission is to bring business and education together in a positive working relationship through innovative leadership and career development programs.

The association is headquartered in Reston, Virginia, just outside Washington, DC. For more information, visit www.fbla-pbl.org.