CHEROKEE — Southeast High School students broke records for district.

Two groups of students — Future Business Leaders of America and Technology Student Association — made it to national competitions this year and both brought home top recognitions.


FBLA students seniors Daisy Burns and Sarah Clausen placed top two in the district competition, first at state then ninth in graphic design at the National Leadership Conference in Baltimore, Maryland. Caitlin Low and Wyntr Jacobs also attended the conference in Business Financial Plan.

“It took them all four years to make it on stage, it was very exciting to see,” Business Teacher and FBLA Advisor Cherie Witt said. “Four girls went to nationals this year, it’s so exciting to see them work so hard to make it on stage.”

FBLA prepares students careers to help them become “community-minded business leaders.”

In previous years, FBLA has made it to nationals, but this year they were in the top 10.

Witt said she hopes the students’ success will inspire and motivate other students to go to national competitions.

Clausen and Burns created a magazine cover and article spread, along with a poster inside.

Clausen praised her partner, Burns, for her public speaking skills which she said helped with the copy and speech presentations.

“My partner is really good at speaking,” she said.

Burns said she was glad to have stuck with FBLA throughout high school, with the goal of getting on stage, the hardest part was making something factual without making it boring, she said.

Both Burns and Clausen said they wanted to make their teacher proud, especially since she couldn’t make it. Witt watched through a live feed, which she said was exciting to watch as her students presented.


TSA students seniors Jake Burns (Daisy Burns twin brother) and Kyler Spahn placed fourth in digital video production at the Technology Student Association National Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Juniors Julie Martin and Chad Lewis also attended the conference. Three other Southeast qualifiers were unable to attend the conference because of conflicts.

TSA helps students in middle and high school to enhance personal development, leadership, and career opportunities in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics, which are applied and integrated into “intracurricular activities” and competitions.

Two years ago, the group placed fifth at the national competition, and previous to that they placed seventh in video productions.

This year, they ranked fourth which was the highest they had achieved in the video competition, Technology education teach advisor for TSA Brad Coots said. He said it is rare to be represented on stage, especially for Kansans.

“I think it’s important for kids in small communities to prove they can compete with anybody from anywhere,” he said and added that is one of the messages he would like to share with students. “Despite their challenge the kids have proven they can do this over and over again.”

Burns and Spahn had to create a three minute video and an one minute PSA, along with a notebook with documents about why the approached the video the way they did, copyright, storyboards, script, release forms and more.

“It went really well,” Burns said adding that his partners helped make it possible.

Burns praised Coots, which is one of the reasons why he decided to join.

He said the culture of the group was a good for fostering success, while providing experience which will last a lifetime in any career, Burns said.

During TSA class time, upper and lowerclassmen are in the same classroom where the upperclassmen work on projects independently and help or mentor the younger students. This is part of the school’s Pathways of Learning Program.

Coots said the knowledge was passed down to students, an experience Jake and Tyler had and gave to other students.

“They took a leadership role in classroom while doing this project,” Coots said.

— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.