Prince George's CountyWilliam J. Ford

Largo Students with a Business Mindset

While STEM continues to be pushed as a future career path for youth, some Largo High School students structure business within its nucleus of success.

Thanks to her family living on a farm in Clinton, Aleeyah Hawkins, 18, wants to own an agribusiness, or the business of agriculture, because of her love for animals.

Jada Battle understands science and technology are major fields, but said she took and enjoyed an accounting class.

“You can venture into any company when doing business,” said the 17-year-old senior, who plans to attend Mary Washington University in Fredericksburg, Virginia, in the fall and study finance.

These are just two of the student members of Largo High’s Future Business Leaders of America who received a statewide award last month for Career and Technology Education. The school received a glass plaque at an awards reception and ceremony April 23 in Baltimore.

According to a description of the Maryland Department of Education’s Division of Career and College Readiness, high school students, teachers, post-secondary schools and educators sponsor “internships, mentoring students as they complete real-world projects and creating Maryland’s high-skilled future workforce.” The careers include computer science, manufacturing and other fields.

A state representative didn’t respond to request for comment on how award winners received recognition, but Largo students explained Monday, April 29 some of the activities this school year such as school-wide fundraisers, participation in regional and statewide competitions and community service.

The FBLA chapter raised more than $600, largely due to Hawkins and fellow senior Trinity Irvin, 18, who sold their canvas artwork of butterflies and flowers.

A community service arm called “FBLA Angels” adopted two children through the Salvation Army to purchase toys during the Christmas holidays.

Wynter Parker, 17, and India Lolin, 16, and both juniors, helped the school earn fifth place in March at the statewide FBLA Conference in Hunt Valley, Maryland, attended by 1,400 students. Largo was recognized for a public-speaking presentation that featured a short cartoon to explain positive and negative soft skills, or character traits, in the workforce.

The majority of the Largo’s FBLA students either completed an internship, will enroll in one this summer, or conducted a job-shadow at Deloitte, an accounting firm in Northwest.

Next month, the students plan to visit Wall Street, an annual pilgrimage to New York City taken for more than 10 years to learn about the stock market and how it affects all aspects of life.

For students and adults who need skills in Microsoft, business teacher and “fundraising queen” Donitta McMillan is a Microsoft certified testing administrator.

Besides the students showing respect to McMillan and learning about the field of business, Nolan Baysmore said he’s glad he participated in his first year as a member of FBLA.

“I learned about how to manage and budget money like for a phone bill,” said the 17-year-old junior. “I even learned public speaking.”

Nataly Ankomaa, a 17-year-old junior, plans to attend college and major in law with a minor in marketing. She wants to open her own law firm and help those in her mother’s native Ghana. Her father is half-Ghanaian.

“I’m going to do it,” she said. “I want to help the people of Ghana.”

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William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail,

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