PMHS teen running for national seat 

Published 10:53 pm Tuesday, April 7, 2009

For most teenage girls, high school is a time of school dances, sleep-overs, and giggles in the hallway. There are late night study sessions with the girlfriends, Friday night movies, and long discussions about the cute boys in school.  

While this all may be true for Picayune Memorial High School junior Samantha Thrasher, she also is setting new trends and opportunities for Pearl River County teens.  

Thrasher, who has been a member of Future Business Leaders of America for the last three years and who has held the Southern region office of vice president for the past year, is upping the ante. “I am running for national secretary,” Thrasher told the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors last Monday.  

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More than a quarter of a million school children and young adults participate in the non-profit organization designed to groom teens and young adults to compete in the business world. Teaching leadership and career skills, the FBLA, through workshops, seminars, and exhibits, gives students from the fifth grade through college a solid foundation in career building and business sense. 

Thrasher told the supervisors that she has enjoyed every moment of her involvement in the program, noting that if she wins the election in June, she plans to make sure Pearl River County students are taken care of. “I promise that I can get more children involved,” said Thrasher, adding that her success would create new contacts and opportunities for the students in the county. “It has been the best fun and social experience. I have met such a wide variety of people and have friends all over the country,” she said.  

Her advisor, Career and Technology teacher Angela Hawthorne said Thrasher surprised her with her announcement to run for a national office.

“She surprised the heck out of me that she wanted to run for national office,” said Hawthorne, adding that Thrasher had always been a high achiever. “She’s a strong student and a high achiever,” adding that the teen had excelled in her state position as vice president. “She has done a really great job.” 

Hawthorne said that the FBLA prepares the students for life after high school and college, teaching them networking skills, dress codes, and competition events. “It is an eye-opener to the business world,” Hawthorne said. “It gives them the opportunity to be in a business-like atmosphere.” 

Thrasher told the supervisors that she was appearing before them for help to achieve her campaign goals. She said she was trying to raise $3,500 for her campaign, The candidate said that her running for the office was the first time any student from the county had run and the first time in six years anyone from the state has tried. “If you invest with us, and invest with me, I can guarantee I will make you proud,” said Thrasher.  

She said that she needed to raise the money for various areas of the campaign including materials, registration, and travel.   

The election, which takes place June 25 through the 28, with more than 8,000 students from around the country attending the Anaheim, California event. Thrasher said that at the event she would be competing through a series of debates, speeches, interviews, and “good old-fashioned handshaking.” 

She said that she would be conducting fundraisers at school and asking other FBLA chapters across the state for help, Thrasher said that she would not disappoint the residents of Pearl River County.

“I know this is an excruciatingly hard economic time,” wrote Thrasher in a letter, “but any support you could give me would be greatly appreciated … Please consider helping me become the first FBLA national officer from Picayune.”

Thrasher promised to make the board proud. “I promise I will make you proud,” she said.

To contribute to Samantha Thrasher’s campaign, send the donations to Picayune Memorial High School FBLA, 600 Goodyear Blvd., Picayune, MS 39466.