Co-Lin student gets top state honors at conference

Published 12:10am Wednesday, July 17, 2013

By April Garon

The Natchez Democrat

VIDALIA —Brian Ensminger held a captive, yet quiet audience while practicing his award-winning speech.

“I’ve practiced in front of frozen food boxes at the grocery store for months,” Ensminger, a Vidalia Market employee, said. “When the stacks fell over, they were really bored.”

The Copiah-Lincoln Community College Natchez campus student practiced the speech focusing on encouraging students to work hard in school every day from December through March in preparation for Phi Beta Lambda’s National Leadership Conference. He also gave the speech in classrooms at Vidalia High School to prepare.

April Garon / The Natchez Democrat — Brian Ensminger won fourth place in public speaking and tenth place in Business Administration with partner Inger Frye at Phi Beta Lambda’s National Leadership Conference in Anaheim, Calif. He will be attending Louisiana State University’s Alexandria campus to complete his business administration degree.
April Garon / The Natchez Democrat — Brian Ensminger won fourth place in public speaking and tenth place in Business Administration with partner Inger Frye at Phi Beta Lambda’s National Leadership Conference in Anaheim, Calif. He will be attending Louisiana State University’s Alexandria campus to complete his business administration degree.

The hard work paid off — Ensminger placed fourth in the nation in the business fraternity conference. He also placed in the top 10 for a business administration presentation he did with team member Inger Frye.

After receiving top honors at the state competition, Ensminger competed against 46 speakers in his category. More than 2,000 people came to participate in the Anaheim, Calif., conference.

“It was an honor just to be there to represent Mississippi, so to make it to the final round was really impressive,” Ensminger said.

His speech focused on encouraging students to work hard in school and following through with goals with the acronym C.H.A.S.E — commitment, honor, accountability, strength and excellence.

“You also need to have the will to strive, ability to stay determined and be able to persevere to achieve your goals,” Ensminger said.

He said practicing the inspiring speech encouraged him to pursue his own goal of becoming a youth pastor.

“I spoke at a few churches, and at first, my legs didn’t stop shaking,” Ensminger said. “But I thought  ‘God, it’s yours,’ took a breath and all fear left.”

While he plans to follow his passion for pastoring, he also sees the importance in completing his education. He plans on transferring to Louisiana State University at Alexandria to complete his business administration degree.

“It’s important to have a degree,” Ensminger said. “I could see myself one day teaching a subject like economics.”

He rewarded himself with a three-day trip to Hawaii after the competition, as well as a trip to Disneyland.