Trinidad State News

Three Trinidad State Valley Campus students head to national competition

Valley Campus / May 6, 2015


Trinidad State students Merisa Armstrong, Luis Garcia and Erin Guymon will be moving on to “Nationals” after winning performances at the state Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) conference held in Colorado Springs last month.  PBL is an education association for college students who are preparing for careers in business and business-related fields.  The organization also has a professional division for business people.  It is organized at local, state, and national levels.  Students who earn first or second place in the state competition go on to compete at nationals.  Armstrong placed second in Word Processing, Garcia placed first in Web Site Design, and Erin Guymon placed first in Accounting Principles.  Taylor and Jonah Bollinger, two brothers in high school who are graduating with college degrees before they graduate high school, are also PBL members and they too competed at the state conference.

Merisa Armstrong is a proud wife and mother of three beautiful children.  Currently, she is involved in two parent committees in her community: one for La Jara Elementary and the other as Chair for the Head Start in Sanford.  She also coaches soccer for her son’s team.  As a full-time student, she is a work study who helps to coordinate Student Life events and assist with the needs in that office.  Armstrong, who has been heavily involved with student government, will graduate on May 8 with her AAS in general studies and will complete her LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) this summer.  She plans to work toward a Bachelor’s in Business Management.  “In PBL I have learned to be persistent with my questions as I seek answers, to rely more upon myself than others and I have learned from my weaknesses.  At Nationals I’m hoping to stand on stage in the top ten of my event, Word Processing.”

Described as hardworking, respectful and responsible, Luis Garcia graduated from Center High School with honors.  He is majoring in Business Management at Trinidad State and plans to graduate in May 2016.  Fluent in both Spanish and English, he worked in a grocery store where he learned how to stock, face and rotate goods.  Garcia is a team player and he’s “looking forward to meeting others with similar interests and learning about Chicago,” when he competes at Nationals.

Erin Guymon is graduating from Trinidad State May 8 with a certificate in accounting and an AAS (Associate of Applied Science) in Business Management.  She will continue her accounting studies at Adams State.  In addition to PBL, Erin is a member of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) honor society and has earned a 4.0 GPA.  She served as president of PBL and tutored others in the business program.  “PBL competitions are a great opportunity for students to test and show off what they have learned in class,” said Guymon.  “It’s a lot of work, but it’s also a lot of fun.  I would recommend it for any student, business major or not, because there truly is something for everyone to choose from at the state competitions, something they enjoy and are good at.  Winning and hearing my name called was an exhilarating experience.  I'm looking forward to competing against the best students from all across the country.  I also grew up not far from Chicago, so it will be interesting to go back and visit.”

Nationals will take place in Chicago from June 24 thru 27.  The best and the brightest will compete in leadership events and will network with others about successes, new ideas, and future careers.  Workshops and exhibits will enhance their experience.

Resources for their travel expenses are limited.  The club is working to raise $3,500 to pay for their registration, travel and motel expenses, but they will need even more to cover incidentals and meals.  Fund raisers the students have had to date include selling emergency cell phone chargers, having a bake sale at the Student Government holiday party, and selling beverages at Casino Night.  The Student Government has allocated some of its funds to assist the students.  They are brainstorming about other fund raising possibilities.

Local businesses can sponsor a student to help with expenses for the PBL National Leadership Conference in June.  In exchange students will provide community service for that organization.  The students will also provide to the business a photograph taken at a Chicago landmark or conference activity which will include a sign stating the business’s name.  This will then be posted on the Trinidad State Facebook page.

To learn more about PBL, or to sponsor a student, call Genia Rasmussen at 719-589-7052.

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