Manny Davila Becomes a Future Business Leader with Community Support and Encouragement - Part Two
My senior year came faster than I could spell Entrepreneur. The district competition was scheduled in January a day before my birthday and I was delighted to an early birthday present with my 3th consecutive 1st place finish. That qualified me for the state competition in March where I finally reached the top of the mountain with a second-place finish in all of Florida, out of 400 competitors. My hard work paid off as I had been studying one hour every night to be in tip top shape.
It felt unreal to place second and shake hands with the national FBLA President Aarav Dagar. Writing about it gives me the goosebumps. Walking up to the stage after they called my name I knew I had punched my ticket to the national leadership conference in Atlanta. I am the first FBLA member from District 7 and Forest High School to make it to nationals! The only thing keeping me from Atlanta was finances.
Thankfully, I have great leaders in the community who generously donated money for my chaperone Mrs. Mackenzie and I to go to Atlanta. Father French and Maurica French at Grace Episcopal Church made the trip a reality and gave me important advice that would be pivotal at nationals. The entire trip was one I'll never forget. I was there to compete but I often found myself living in the moment, reminiscing on what it took to make it there. After taking my objective test, I was able to attend different workshops and explore Atlanta, which was a new experience for me.
While exploring and eating southern delicacies like chicken pot pie were pretty cool, the best and favorite part of nationals was the people I met. I made friends with people from so many states and territories such as North Dakota, California, Puerto Rico, and Wisconsin. It was so cool to me because we all lived such different lives but we all shared FBLA in common. I also met a handful of mentors with expertise in multiple industries.
I placed 17th out of 400 in the nation. I accomplished my goals and competed at the highest level. I came back to Ocala confident and prideful. I write this with tears in my eyes because I am so happy with where my four years with FBLA took me and what I was able to learn throughout the experience.
I am so grateful for those who donated to my cause and gave me the chance to compete as the entire trip was unbelievable. Overall, I was able to accomplish my goals of competing at the highest level, networking with future business leaders and mentors, and getting to experience a once in a lifetime opportunity.