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Local FBLA student plans Midwest trip
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Kimberly Boim

Cole Simmons will soon be on his way to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.

The 16-year-old Dawson County High School junior plans to attend the Future Business Leaders of Americas (FBLA) fall leadership conference in Denver. Funds from the FBLA will help pay for his trip.

Simmons is currently the vice president of communications for the association and, as a state leader, his duties include greeting competitors before events, seeing them after events, helping to run the

conference behind the scenes, and getting participants their registration packets. Sounds simple enough, but prior his Colorado trip, Simmons will be speaking in front of more than 8,000 FBLA attendees at another conference in Perry, Ga.

I used to have no public speaking skills, and the FBLA taught me to strive to achieve, Simmons said. Im a completely different student way more motivated.

Simmons made it into FBLA his freshman year at Dawson County High School (DCHS). The goals of FBLA include developing competent, aggressive business leadership and to strengthen the confidence of students in themselves and their work.

I saw at my first conference that when I actually put effort into it, and strove to really achieve, where I could end up. Its kind of crazy seeing where I can go, but Ive loved it, he added.

DCHS teacher and FBLA advisor, Ryan Coker, said Simmons is very goal oriented.

If he has a goal, hes really good at figuring out how to achieve it, Coker said. According to Coker, Georgia has the largest membership in the nation, and being a state leader is an important role.

Ive seen how he and his teammates have grown, Coker added. Its an awesome transformation to see a kid go through. Hes an all around great kid who makes our road trips fun. Hes fun to talk to, fun to hang out with, and everybody likes him.

His mom, Mary Simmons, couldnt agree more.

He has the drive and its just about FBLA, she said. Hes developed a love of running and ran a triathlon, and he came in first in his age group.

She also noted the he has dual enrollment with Gainesville State College, and takes two classes on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays. She said he did well on his SATs and his composite score was excellent.

He has laid the groundwork for a successful future. You dont just wake up as a high school student and decide what youre going to do, you have to lay the ground work, and hes doing that, she said.

Simmons has two older siblings, Daniel, 22, and Katie, 19, who attend Georgia Tech.

I would really like to be the state FBLA president next year, he said.

Board of Education chair, Elaine Wilson, thinks he can do it.

I look for him to be the state president next year, Wilson said during the Sept. 10 Board of Education meeting.