Our future looks ‘Bright’

Local student captures second in FBLA’s national competition

After winning the state competition, Eric Bright went on to capture second place for technology concepts in the Future Business Leaders of Americas national contest. Bill Milligan photo

After winning the state competition, Eric Bright went on to capture second place for technology concepts in the Future Business Leaders of America’s national contest. Bill Milligan photo

By BILL MILLIGAN

A student splitting time between Mehlville Senior High School and South County Technical School recently placed second in the Future Business Leaders of America’s National Leadership Coference in Nashville, Tenn.

Eric Bright, son of Radine and Richard Bright of Concord, finished among the nation’s best in the competition.

“He began in eighth grade when he ordered parts and built his own computer,” said his mother, Radine. “He built it from scratch, ordered parts and put it all together.”

Eric was more low key in his assessment.

“Most of the questions were pretty straightforward,” he recalled. “There were a few that made me stop and think a while. Mostly, I tried to take my time and think the question through.”

His trip to Nashville began at South County Tech, where teachers encouraged him to participate in the contest.

“The school sponsors Future Business Leaders of America,” Eric said. “They even help with the cost of joining. I thought it would help support my school. Competitions are a good way to display your school spirit.”

His first test on his road to the national final was conducted at the school’s Sunset Hills campus.

He won the state championship and was invited to appear at a Future Business Leaders of America’s event in Columbia. He and a young man from Kansas City advanced to represent Missouri in Nashville.

“It was a really large crowd,” Bright said. “There were more than 7,000 people at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium. Each state was represented with banners.”

The national competition covered more than just computers.

“Some of the questions about radio I was unsure about,” he said. “I just took my time and tried to think them through. It gave me something to look up and learn afterwards.”

Despite his high placement, there were no offers of scholarships.

“We’re just hoping it looks good on his college application,” Radine said.

Eric, who is a senior this year, said he wants to attend either Washington University, Webster College or Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla next year.

He thanked the National Technical Honor Society, which has made him a member and paid for his hotel and gasoline to drive there and back.

“When they competed, they all looked so nice in suits and ties, so professional,” Radine said. “They were all nice kids. I think they deserve recognition for that.”