Edgewood-Colesburg High School has a president walking through its hallways. Sophomore Alexandria Schmitz is the incoming state president for the Iowa Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) for the 2019-20 school year.

In addition, sophomore Kirstyn Payne has been chosen as vice president for Region 1 of the organization.

FBLA is the largest career student business organization in the world, with over 230,000 members.

Both students are in their second year of FBLA.

Schmitz said she spoke with her FBLA advisor, Ed-Co business teacher Jodi Ehlers, about seeking the state seat. “After thinking about how excited I was after being in FBLA my freshman year, I decided to do it. I knew I would regret it if I didn’t try.”

After meeting with state committee leaders and the outgoing president, Schmitz was confirmed as president.

Schmitz will be in charge of developing agendas for monthly state officer meetings and being active at the three state conferences.

According to Ehlers, Schmitz will also be busy during the National FBLA Convention June 29 through July 2 in San Antonio, Texas. “She will lead a meeting of the Iowa delegation in a state meeting,” Ehlers explained. “At nationals, she will be representing our state with a national vote and meeting with other state presidents. It’s a big deal for Iowa, a big deal for Ed-Co and certainly a big deal for Alex.”

As vice president of Region 1, Payne will help coordinate activities for schools in an area that runs from Dubuque to Eagle Grove. She decided to seek the position after losing a state election for secretary.

“I will help organize an event in the fall and another one in the spring trying to get kids to network with other kids in our region,” Payne said.

Both girls appreciate what FBLA offers.

“For me, it’s somewhere I can put my knowledge to use,” said Schmitz. “Growing up my mom ran a flower store and I kind of grew up there. Over time I was able to learn stuff but I had nowhere to put it. Being in FBLA I have been able to better myself socially and am able to put my abilities to good use.”

For Payne, her first FBLA experiences came thanks to her two older brothers. “I went with them to a lot of their events. I saw what they did and thought it was cool. I’ve made so many new friends and have started thinking about the future and what I want to do. Right now, I’m really interested in being a business teacher. I see what Mrs. Ehlers does with kids. I think that’s really cool.”

Schmitz and Payne credit Ehlers for helping them.

“She always gives us the opportunities we need, then it’s up to us to take hold of it,” Schmitz said. “She’s always helping us put our best foot forward.”

“If you come up with an idea, she will help you get it started,” Payne added.

Ehlers has grown the program from 11 students when she began to 62 members this year. “I think kids see our chapter as a contributing organization, especially in our communities,” Ehlers said. “We do fun activities but they make an impact on our communities. Our kids at Ed-Co are not afraid to work hard and to push themselves.”

As for her two students who are now state office holders, she added, “They are amazing.”