Well deserved is how Thomas County Central High School students and staff describe business teacher and Future Business Leaders of America Head Adviser Nicholas Haskin’s win as the 2023 Georgia FBLA Adviser of the Year.
“Mr. Haskin fully deserves winning the state FBLA adviser of the year award,” member Shelbie Ducharme, 18, said. “He truly dedicates himself time after time to the success and wellbeing of his FBLA students and does it all with a smile.”
Recently bestowed during the 2023 Georgia FBLA State Leadership Conference and Competition, the title honors Haskin for his dedication to his school’s chapter and its members.
“I think [Mr.] Haskin winning this award has been long deserved,” Shane Sanford, 17, said. “[Mr.] Haskin is a great and inspirational educator who absolutely deserves the award.”
In his 21st year as an educator, Haskin has been an FBLA adviser for 18 years, all with TCCHS. He’s won Georgia FBLA Region 1 Adviser of the Year multiple times but never the state one.
Unfortunately, he was too sick during the conference to attend the opening session when organizers announced the winner. Other advisers and alums began texting him about the award; however, he thought it was the region one he knew he’d won. Finally, the news sank in, and Haskin was elated and saddened.
“Elated to be recognized for such a high honor, yet saddened that I was too sick to be there in person to receive my award,” he said. “This award means so much to me as it represents my time invested in my students.”
His students acknowledge and appreciate Haskin’s efforts.
“Mr. Haskin’s investment and dedication to his students and the members of FBLA separate him from other advisers,” Bryce Folsom, 16, said. “He is a laid-back guy who wants the best for his students as well as the members of FBLA. His ability to listen to students is his best quality. When a student has any issue going on – whether it's school related or not – he will help you get through it.”
Ducharme said Haskin was the first teacher to make her feel welcome when she transferred to TCCHS as a ninth-grader, and he taught her the power of a positive mindset.
“Fast forward to my senior year, and I can still confidently say he has fully supported me in every academic decision and accomplishment I've made since that day,” she said. “He has taught me to stop doubting myself and my abilities and always tell myself that ‘I can do it’ because if I believe I can do something, I will.”
Freshman Emma “Kate” Griffith said Haskin 100 percent deserves the state adviser award and has many great qualities, specifically his ability to reach out to his students.
“I would say that everyone feels that he has a kind spirit and a servant's heart,” she said. “Mr. Haskin always works hard to provide support and guidance to everyone who needs it. He stands out from other advisers because he expects more out of us and works vigorously to help us succeed. Something important that he has taught me is to never settle.”
Georgia has the largest FBLA state chapter, and FBLA is part of every business education class. It helps bring real-word experience and standards into the classroom to assist students in preparing for higher education and the workforce.
As head adviser, Haskin manages the student officers team that helps run the chapter, assists students with identifying their strengths, prepares them for competitions, and oversees all facets of student participation in conferences and contests.
While FBLA now serves as a focal point of Haskin’s educator role, this was not always the case. It took him a few years to fully invest in the organization.
“I was a member of FBLA at Lowndes High School in title/membership only,” he said. “I was a varsity athlete at Lowndes competing in cross country and soccer and even wrestled a year. I was originally studying to be an English teacher at the high school level when I started observing teachers and found my true love for business education. So while I'd love to say that my love for FBLA started in high school, it really grew as I started investing in my students and watching their success.”
An admittedly competitive person, Haskin spent his first few years as a young educator meeting this drive through coaching varsity girls’ soccer. However, once he stepped away from coaching, FBLA quickly became the outlet for his competitive spirit.
“I began giving everything I had to prepare my students to achieve at the regional, state and national levels,” Haskin said.
Haskin credits his mentors and peers for their part in shaping him into a state-level adviser winner, including Georgia FBLA Executive Director Monty Rhodes for his support and motivation, current TCCHS CTAE Director Dr. Beth Adams for her dedication to her department and investment in FBLA members’ success, and his former TCCHS mentor teacher, Martha Winter.
“I would not be receiving this award if it were not for the amazing advisers, past and present, who teach me to be a better person each day,” he said. “Martha Winter was the [first] one who really pushed me to become the adviser I am today. She saw my competitive nature and knew I could translate it to FBLA and help our chapter grow.”
What started as a chapter with 15 members now boasts approximately 100. Adams praises Haskin’s dedication to FBLA and his students.
“Mr. Haskin is a dedicated FBLA adviser and certainly deserves the recognition that comes with the adviser of the year award,” she said. “He is the type of teacher who sees the best in all of his students and works to support them in everything they do. This award just let the rest of Georgia FBLA know what we already knew – Mr. Haskin is one of the best business teachers in Georgia.”
His students concur, specifically noting Haskin’s ability to help his students discover and hone their abilities.
“His best quality is his ability to help students find the events they are best at and help them grow confidence when competing in them,” Ducharme said. “When joining FBLA, many students have big goals but are unsure how to achieve them or even just take a step toward them. Mr. Haskin helps every student grow confident in themselves and grow confident entering into the world of business.”
Folsom has first-hand experience with this aspect of Haskin’s guidance.
“The most important lesson I have learned from Mr. Haskin is to go out of your comfort zone,” he said. “I am a pretty shy guy when it comes to presentations or public speaking, which is why I prefer doing testing events within FBLA. Through immersing me in presentation events, Mr. Haskin assisted in improving my public speaking ability, a skill that will benefit my future.”
Sanford believes Haskin’s best quality is his observation skills.
“He has an eye for skill and often recruits off this basis,” he said. “The most valuable lesson I've learned from [Mr.] Haskin is about the quality of work. He has encouraged me to work hard and show my skill in everything I do. This has consistently improved my work output.”
Post-award, the stalwart adviser’s goals remain the same as always.
“One of the honors our chapter maintains is that we are the only chapter in Georgia to have won our region sweepstakes (competition) every year since its inception (13, so far),” Haskin said. “Our goal, moving forward, will be to continue winning region, winning state titles and placing students at nationals for years to come.”
And his students have been and will remain a focal point in his life and role as an FBLA adviser.
“The students are why I do it,” he said. “My students inspire me every year. There is no better feeling in the world for an FBLA adviser than to watch your students realize just how amazing they really are and then watch them return years after graduation wearing that same success in their studies, occupations, and relationships. The students have always been and will always be my focus!”