Among the 1,200 high school students in Augusta this week could be Coca-Cola's next chief executive, a handful of doctors and other budding titans of commerce.
From high schools across Georgia, they came to town Thursday and Friday for the fall leadership conference of Future Business Leaders of America.
They wore day-glo green identification bracelets like hospital patients, blue blazers and business suits. As they milled around the lobby of the Radisson Riverfront Hotel Augusta, these teen-agers didn't giggle or roughhouse. Some even poured over the newspaper stock quotes.
"I'm sorry I wasn't in it last year. It's a lot of fun," said Jacob Harmond, a senior at Dunwoody High School in a dark, European-styled suit. He starts college in the fall at the Georgia Institute of Technology, but he isn't sure if he wants to be an electrical engineer or a dentist.
Freshman Kasey Ray has no doubts about her career path.
"I'd like to be the CEO, actually, of Coca-Cola," she said. Her experience as the secretary of the Long County High School chapter of FBLA has prepared her by sharpening her leadership skills, she said.
"If you're going to be successful as a business leader, you have to be able to communicate with everyone," she said.
During the sessions, the students heard tips on computerized job research, dressing for work on a budget and interviewing.
"I'm floored by the amount of people coming into my office -- `I need a job; I want a job; I need money' -- and they don't have a resume," said presenter Alice Atchison, a manager with Adecco personnel agency in Augusta.
Along with a resume, applicants need a smile, a firm handshake, enthusiasm and punctuality, she told them.
Next door, Butch Guisto of the Salvation Army told another group of students how they can buy used business clothes at thrift stores with prices like $5 for a blazer, $2.50 for slacks and 25 cents for a dress shirt.
"Sticker shock will drive you right to the thrift store," he said. "If you really want to save yourself some money, learn how to iron."
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