My flight was scheduled for 4pm on Thursday, it was then pushed back to Friday at 10am then pushed back once again to Friday at 10:55pm and if that wasn’t bad enough the 10:55pm flight was delayed and didn’t leave Miami International Airport till 1:30am on Saturday. Tired, exhausted and hungry we arrived at New Orleans at 3:30 am and still had to drive to our hotel (30 minutes away) and then go grab a bite to eat. Long story short we didn’t go to sleep till 4:30am and try sleeping when you have to be back up at 8am.
But even the sleepless night and the excessive delays didn’t prevent us from victory. Our competition began at 9am sharp – so we woke up put on our game faces. The competition was fierce out of 50 students by 12pm only 5 were left. But it wasn’t over — at 12:15pm we begun the final round and had to do our presentation in front of a large audience and in front of a panel of five judges that will scrutinize your words, tone and body movement. After each contestants went the judges would furiously scribble down their notes and whisper among each other. After we all went the butterflys in the stomach were still not over..they wouldn’t announce the winners till that evening at 6:30pm.
6:30pm finally crawled along and it was show time. As they got ready to announce the winners, my heart starting beating super fast – I felt like it would give up at any moment and then it came 5th place – Jonathan Santana – my team mate snagged up 5th and I immediately got worried but still held on to hope. 4th Place…..3rd Place and so I knew I was in the top 2 since they had yet to call my name and then 2nd place was announced and my team went nuts. You would have thought they were screaming for the 2nd place winner but 2nd place was won by someone else so they knew that the only name left unannounced was JEFF ZELAYA and so they called it and up to the stage I ran to take pictures with the big $500 check.
An incredible moment and a very happy moment in my life. All the hard work had paid off. But the celebrations weren’t over..as the award ceremony winded down there was still one more big award left unannounced and it was for the AMA’s Top Chapter of the Year AKA the Platinum Award…which FIU WON!!! The crowd once again went wild – everyone wanted to congratulate us and take pictures with us and so the trip that almost never happened concluded in the best finish possible. It was meant to be! Thank you for everyone that made this experience possible. Thank you to our ‘ama’zing AMA family and especially to our Advisors Tim Birrittella and Nancy Rauseo. Love you guys!!
Check our my very prophetic words in this video below…”FIU AMA will be number one!” Whatever you believe you will achieve!