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Hancock school board recognizes FBLA, talks operations

RECOGNIZED — As part of Monday’s meeting of the Hancock County Board of Education, certificates of recognition were presented to members of Weir High School’s Future Business Leaders of America. The group recently competed in the Spring Leadership Conference at Marshall University. Pictured, from left, are Arwen Denunzio, Rachel Ogbonna, Andrew Manteau, Alena Austin and Justin Velegol. Hannah Moore also is a member of the club. Velegol, Manteau and Austin have qualified for the National Convention in Chicago in June. -- Craig Howell

NEW CUMBERLAND — The Hancock County Board of Education, Monday, took time to recognize members of Weir High School’s Future Business Leaders of America, and also to review some aspects of the board’s operations.

According to FBLA sponsor Candice Dotson, the club almost disappeared as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with only four members active. They have been working to rebuild over the last year, though, and several of the club’s members have been recognized for their efforts at the recent Spring Leadership Conference at Marshall University.

“We came back with a vengeance,” Dotson said, also thanking Dan Enich, director of career, technical and adult education, for securing the funding necessary to support the group.

As part of the Spring Leadership Conference, Justin Velegol placed first in Business Calculations; Andrew Manteau placed first in UX Design; Alena Austin placed first in Business Financial Plan; Rachel Ogbonna placed second in Personal Finance; Hannah Moore placed second in Human Resources Management; and Arwen Denunzio placed third in Introduction to FBLA.

Velegol, Manteau and Austin have qualified to attend the National Convention in Chicago in June.

Dotson explained FBLA isn’t just about preparing for the business world, with programs available for various life skills, public speaking and more.

“I think we had people join us who were surprised by what they’re learning,” she said.

She also noted the initiative shown by the group, pointing to Manteau in particular. Weir High doesn’t offer a class on UX, or User Experience, Design. The field focuses on the experience an individual has while interacting with a product.

“It’s a very important thing,” he said, when called upon the board to explain the category.

Dotson explained Manteau took it upon himself to contact Marshall University, and is being provided guidance from one of the university’s professors as he continues to prepare for competition.

Following a request from board President Danny Kaser, Superintendent Dawn Petrovich provided a review of the board’s legal responsibilities as well as board meeting protocol.

“We’re going to do some of this over the next few meetings,” Kaser said, explaining he feels many in the public are misinformed about the operations of the school board.

Petrovich explained while state code section 7-4-1 allows for the use of the county prosecutor for legal representation to the board, as has been pointed out by several residents during previous board meetings, section 18-5-13 allows for the use of outside counsel.

“There are many areas of possible need,” Petrovich said, noting the board may require someone with a specialization to address certain needs.

She pointed out the board has used outside counsel since at least 1998, and, even when using the county prosecutor’s office, has had to pay for the service.

Petrovich also reviewed the types of meetings available for the board, how they must be advertised and that the board cannot take action outside of those meetings.

“The board members do not have offices at the Central Office, and don’t hold office hours,” she said.

Kaser also noted meetings are governed by Robert’s Rules of Order and the state Open Meetings laws.

Under a recommendation from Petrovich, the board approved a contribution of $10,000 to assist with the completion of renovations to the tennis courts with Chester City Parks, with plans for their use by the Oak Glen High tennis team, as well as an annual contribution of $1,000 for the next five years.

The board also approved several personnel proposals.

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