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National honor for North
Team from high school finishes 1st
North Forsyth High student Kevin Crayton checks in participants and writes receipts as part of the checks and balances of an FBLA project with local Boy Scouts. The project recently took top honors at the FBLA national conference. - photo by Submitted
He may not be a business leader yet, but North Forsyth High School senior Taylor Pruitt has big plans for the future.

Along with teammates Aanal Patel and Moses Tincher, Pruitt received top honors this summer at the Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda national conference in Nashville, Tenn.

The three placed first in the American enterprise project, beating out more than 30 other teams.

“That’s probably the most excited I’ve ever gotten, especially for something about school,” Pruitt said. “There was a lot of excitement.”

More than 7,800 students from across the country took part in the July conference. Among them were eight North pupils, who competed in seven of the more than 50 events.

North students took 11th place in the partnership with a business project and placed fifth in banking and financial systems, said FBLA adviser Shannon Anderson-Rush.

The accomplishments got the attention of Forsyth County Schools Superintendent Buster Evans, who said the school’s FBLA “continues to be a leader at the state and national levels.”

“We are extremely proud of Shannon Anderson-Rush’s leadership and the work of her students,” he said. “The opportunities and experiences that these students are having impact their learning now and in the future.”

While not all student groups placed, Anderson-Rush said it was an “incredible honor just to make it that far.”

“The competition is so stiff in Georgia, when we’ve got 25,000 students competing, it’s an honor that you can even make it to [nationals],” she said, noting that FBLA helps prepare students for the future.

“Being involved in the student organization is really a steppingstone into the real world because we’re running projects similar to projects they run in businesses,” she said.

Patel, Tincher and Pruitt represented about 160 FBLA students at North who worked together on the project.

During last year’s competition, the school placed second. This year, the students were determined to improve.

Anderson-Rush said seniors tweaked the project, worked with the younger students and came up with a winning formula.

“We taught workshops to Boy Scouts based on the American enterprise system and career-focused workshops, whereas last year we ran a business,” she said.

Pruitt said his group had to write a 20-page report, create a PowerPoint presentation and “memorize a five- to seven-minute [spoken] presentation.”

“We went over that a lot. It was hours of practicing,” he said. “It was teamwork. That’s a big thing in business. A lot of preparation was involved in that.”

With Patel now a freshman at the University of Georgia and Tincher attending Emory University, Pruitt is North’s FBLA president this school year.

With a national win under his belt, he is excited to pass his experience on to other students.

“Hopefully, I’ll get to do another event like that,” he said. “Maybe we’ll get to go to Orlando this year. Our goal is to get [to nationals] again.”

Patel hopes to attend Georgia Tech, where he plans to major in management and minor in finance.

“I know this will look good on transcripts and applications,” he said of the competition experience. “It has really prepared me for what I’m going to see later on in life, hopefully when I’m working in the business world.

“All the concepts you learn through FBLA prepare you for what you’re going to face later on.”