Before this school year, Sharp Learning Center has never had a student club or organization.
Sharp business education teacher Mervine Jordan had wanted to organize a Future Business Leaders of America chapter at the school since she started teaching at there six years ago. She finally started one this year.
Students at Sharp have been assigned there mainly for disciplinary action or because they struggled academically in a traditional classroom setting.
"It has made a change in the students who have joined," Jordan said.
Jordan explained how she has witnessed positive changes in the 18 members' and five officers' behavior, attendance and grades since joining the club.
"It is teaching leadership skills," Jordan said, "which they are finding out is not easy."
The requirements to join the club are to have taken one business class and maintain good behavior while at Sharp. Jordan said the FBLA chapter gives the students enrolled in accounting, entrepreneurship or business essentials classes a sense of unity.
She said students' memberships should transfer to their home schools because they have paid state and national dues. Students also will be able to join Sharp's chapter all year long.
"Many students will be gone after this semester, so we have to keep it open," Jordan said.
She explained how many of the students had never heard of the organization before she began posting signs about it around the school.
Senior Bryce Kimball said he joined to gain more leadership experience.
"I joined for the business aspect of it," Kimball said. "I want to be an entrepreneur - I want to have many different businesses."
Kimball's peers elected him club president at their first meeting.
"They know I'm pretty good at handling stuff and I guess they think I'm a good leader," Kimball said.
Junior Angel Ibezim was elected club reporter. She is responsible for originating and distributing a club newsletter and taking pictures at all the events.
"It looks good on your college applications," Ibezim said, "and this is the first thing like this we've had at Sharp, so why not."
Club treasurer Malik Meite, junior, had a similar reason for joining the FBLA.
"It's something different to do," Meite said, "and I'm taking business courses when I go to college."
Kimball, Ibezim and Meite said they are all excited about attending the state FBLA Fall Motivational Rally on Sept. 27 in Macon.
Jordan said it's important for Sharp students to be able to participate in organizations such as FBLA.
"We needed this at Sharp because the students still have to go and blend in with the rest of the community, other schools - wherever they are when they're not here," Jordan said, "so we are trying to offer them the same things they have in other schools."