By Don Bolding

Killeen Daily Herald

The nine members of the Central Texas College team of Students in Free Enterprise took a final deep breath Monday before a national competition by giving the business advisory board a preview of their PowerPoint presentation prepared for judges Wednesday and Thursday at Chicago's McCormick Center.

The presentation to the advisors – a group of 27 local business people, media representatives, CTC alumni and others – is an annual exercise to seek written input about the quality of the presentation.

The CTC team has won the regional competition for two-year community colleges every year since 1997 and came in fourth in the nation in 2004, 2005 and 2006, dropping back to eighth place at the national level last year.

A separate, simultaneous competition is held for teams in four-year colleges and universities.

Six team members completed a bright, rapid-fire oral description of all the team's projects, including 12 new ones.

SIFE is a worldwide organization to promote and educate about the free enterprise system, and one of the new projects was "Project Stretch," a three-day series of presentations to 100 students from 10 local Nigerian schools in partnership with the SIFE team at Nigeria's Kogi State University.

Current CTC SIFE president said the group is getting involved more with teaching credit and money management, with a continuing emphasis on teaching the principles and values of the free enterprise system via seminars in elementary and secondary schools and colleges, and through examples set by community involvement.

In classroom presentations, the team tests students for knowledge gained on the spot and returns to check for knowledge retained several months later.

Team members this year and their planned degrees are:

Zinnia Vargas, president, is working toward an associate's degree in business management with an eye toward a real estate license and a new business.

Joshua Holm, president-elect and Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran, is working toward an associate's degree in business management. He is a managing director with Ignite, powered by Stream Energy.

Andrew Smith, past president, is working toward a master's degree in business. He hopes for a management career in information technology.

Renee Abner, secretary, wants an associate's degree in business administration to become a personal financial representative.

Leslie Gay, team project director and media coordinator, is also a veteran seeking a degree in business management with an intention to open a real estate business.

Chastity Clemons, team project director, seeks an associate's degree in business management with hopes to work in military defense finance and accounting services.

Milena Capper, team project director, who already has an associate's degree in liberal arts, is seeking a certificate in marketing and sales management. She plans to start pursuing a degree in communications at the University of Hawaii next fall.

Jarrell Johnson, the team's student government representative, has an associate's degree in fire science and plans to seek a business degree at the University of Texas.

Faolan Ross is seeking an associate's degree in business administration with plans to seek a marketing degree from Tarleton State University to work in fashion advertising.

Dr. John Frith, CTC business professor and SIFE faculty advisor, especially thanked business alumnae Lisa Chappell, now working with, and Christine Luciano, now in civil service with the Fort Hood Directorate of Public Works, for returning as advisors.

The team presented a SIFE T-shirt to Tom Creek, president of the Copperas Cove Banking Center of the National Banks of Central Texas, for long hours of devoted assistance to their efforts.

Discussing recruitment efforts after the presentation, Clemons said, "I've had more experience than most students here have, and I especially appreciate the team because it gets me out of the classroom to work with people where they are."

Contact Don Bolding at or (254) 501-7557.

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