Centre?s Jirak to give winning presentation to state board


Jacob Jirak holds the award he won at the national convention of Future Business Leaders earlier this summer. He will give his presentation to the Kansas State Board of Education on Sept. 9

The Kansas State Board of Education will soon be learning more about Centre High School and the accomplishments of one of its students following an invitation from Alexa Posny, the state?s commissioner of edua-tion, who arranged the Topeka visit Sept. 9.

What started the ball rolling and led to Centre High School junior Jacob Jirak?s trip to Topeka, began with a letter to Posny from Superintendent Jerri Kemble, USD 397 Centre in Lost Springs.

?It was more of an FYI to Dr. Posny,? Kemble said.

Proud of Jirak?s achievement at nationals earlier this summer in Anaheim, Calif., Kemble said she thought it was noteworthy enough to bring to the state?s attention.

Kemble explained to Posny that she had been reading about the move toward more education for Kansas students in the area of personal finance.

?I thought maybe Dr. Posny might want to highlight this achievement on the Web site,? she said.

In less than one hour after receiving the e-mail from Kemble, though, Posny had responded back, not only thanking Kemble for sharing the news, but had even more to add.

?I would like to do several things,? Posny stated in her e-mail. ?I would like to do a media release, write a letter of congratulations and have Jacob present at a state board meeting.?

?This is a great reflection on the education you are providing your student,? Posny added.

Kemble said, ?I had no idea it would mushroom into this.?

Although pleasantly surprised by Posny?s ideas, Kemble said she would need to talk with Jirak?s parents and make sure they, and their son, were on board with the plans.

Nadine Smith, Centre High principal, said she and others within the district are ?extremely? proud of Jirak.

?Jacob is a great example of the way to persevere and commit to their education,? Smith said.

Kemble added that Jacob told her he had studied for the national test by recording the review work and then listening to it at night.

Jirak will have an opportunity to discuss his experiences and strengths when he gets to Topeka.

?We would like Jacob to talk about the Future Business Leaders of America and its purpose, the various club activities he is involved with and the national conference and what he did to receive the award,? said Sherry J. Bukovatz, administrative specialist with communications with the state department of education.

The board will also ask questions and plans to present Jirak with a certificate.

Jirak competed against 150 other youth from across the country in the personal finance category, receiving a first place trophy and a $750 cash prize.

He is a club officer for the FBLA and said in an earlier interview that a lot of the credit for his success should go to his advisor, Lisa Beye at Centre.

Centre has 25 FBLA members and putting that in perspective, 25 is about half the student body at Centre.

In 2005, FBLA placed in parliamentary procedures and Nell Hill in 2008 was a finalist in client services.

Jirak was the first to take first place in nationals, something no other member had achieved in the 15-year history of the school?s club, Beye said.

?Personal finance is doing different things with money,? Jirak said, such as budgeting, checking and savings account or making investments.?

Karla Denny, director of Communications and Recognition Programs, and who is also responsible for managing the scholarship and recognition programs administered by the Department of Education, said the board will be interested in asking Jirak about what his school is doing and what he does to meet math standards.

?We don?t always hear from districts about what students are doing,? Denny said, ?whether it?s personal finance, culinary or other subjects.?

Denny hopes this will serve as a springboard for other districts to consider letting the department of education know when significant contributions are made by their students.

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