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Eastside duo wins state FBLA championship
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Eastside High School Dustin Gentis and Conner Haler took home first place honors in Digital Video Production category at the recent FBLA State Competition. Gentis and Haler, both juniors, will now represent the state of Georgia at the national competition this summer.

“Dustin and Conner have demonstrated a great deal of technical, as well as creative skill with their award-winning public service video,” said Dennis Roddenberry, principal of Eastside High School. “Every detail from creation to editing has been first class. Their families, teachers, and administrators are very proud of this accomplishment and wish them good luck as they compete at the national level, which will be held in San Antonio, Texas. On behalf of Eastside High School we extend special thanks to not only Dustin and Conner, but to their parents as well.”

“Everyone in the competition had to do a video on the nationwide topic of ‘The Dangers of Texting While Driving,’” said Marilou Grimes, Eastside FBLA Advisor.

The students were invited to the final stage of the state competition after making the top ten in the original phase of judging.

“We sent in our video to the first set of judges,” said Gentis. “They pre-judged the top ten before everyone went to state.”
According to Haler, those in the top ten had to perform a presentation before a different set of judges.

“We had to explain the process we used to create the video — what type of equipment we used, techniques, technology used,” Haler explained. “There was a panel of four judges and we had to explain why our video should be the winner.”

Once they completed their presentation the waiting game began.

“The Digital Video Production was the last category to be announced,” said Gentis, noting that the top 10 were called on stage in front of an audience of approximately 6,000 people. “We were extremely nervous. We knew we sent in something of quality. We knew it was good but we wanted to find out what other people thought.”

“We were super confident until we saw who we were up against — Savannah Arts and a bunch of other very good schools,” added Haler. “Savannah Arts is like the high school version of SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design).”

Ultimately, the Eastside video took top honors in the competition with Savannah Arts Academy placing second. Both will now move on to represent Georgia in the national competition in San Antonio, Texas.

Watch the announcement of the state championship award at the link below: