By B.C. Manion and Steve Schwarzkopf
Alexander Santa – a recent graduate of Wesley Chapel High – placed in the top 40 of students from around the nation at the 2013 Future Business Leaders of America National Leadership Conference.
Santa jetted out to Anaheim, Calif., along with other local students Madison Jacoves, Lindsay and Kaitlyn King and FBLA advisor Renee Marsella to test their skills against their peers.
While none of the students made it to the finals, Santa and Jacoves made it to the preliminary rounds, which means they were among the top 40, Marsella said.
They qualified to compete in Anaheim, by placing in the top three at the state competition, Marsella said. Santa won first place in web design at the state competition in Orlando. Jacoves won second place in the electronic career portfolio category and the Kings, who are twin sisters, took third place in the banking and financial systems category, Marsella said.
The Pasco County Schools district covered Santa’s expenses, because he was the first place winner at state, said Marsella, whose expenses were also picked up by the district. The female competitors raised their own money to cover their costs, she said.
While Santa didn’t win any prizes this year, he was seventh in the nation last year, Marsella said. He won first place at state in the ebusiness category last year, she said.
Even though he didn’t bring home a prize, Santa said he enjoyed attending the conference in Anaheim. He said he had a chance to attend sessions to bolster his networking and marketing skills, which he’s sure will come in handy in promoting his DJ business.
Santa credited Marsella for helping him succeed. He said she “has definitely pushed me hard and taught me to reach for my goals as an entrepreneur.”
He also said his parents have played a key role. “They have always been there and supported me in all my projects,” he said.
Santa’s winning submission in the state competition was based on his online design and marketing business, Xigence Media. The business helps companies gain brand recognition on the Web.
Santa’s interest in computers began early.
“I was 11-years-old when I got my first computer,” he said. “I began to design in 2007 and am pretty much self-taught. I picked it up by looking at the coding of other pages on the Web. I work with HTML, PHP, CSS and some other programming languages.”
Santa is enrolled at the University of South Florida, where he is pursuing a degree in business and information management. The major merges business and technology, which Santa said is perfect for him because he’s interested in both areas.
His career plans are uncertain at this point.
“Right now, I am just taking all possible paths to see where they lead.”
To see his FBLA entry, visit xmdevs.com
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