Howell High School is proud to present six honorable students who belong to the club of Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America: Sarah Beatty, Ashley Pascoe, Brittany Faba, Jana Pietila, Laura Eskola, and Jacqueline Marsack. FCCLA, co advised by Ms. Cathy Hengesbaugh and Ms. Teri Brewer, is a nation-wide student organization that helps young men and women become leaders and address important personal, family, work, and societal issues through family and consumer science education.
From April 13-15, six students participated in STAR events (Students Taking Action with Recognition) at the FCCLA State Leadership Conference in Midland, Michigan. Every FCCLA participant of the State Leadership Conference had to create a project that was listed under several permissible categories; some optional types of events were solely for the state competition, while the majority of others were available for the national competition as well. Five out of the six HHS students who competed with their FCCLA project won a Gold Medal score for the national level, which is the high mark needed to proceed to the National Competition in Anaheim, California this summer.
“It was exciting,” says senior Sarah Beatty, president and FCCLA gold medalist. “I wanted to go so much because it was so much fun last year.”
The FCCLA State Competition was held at the Valley Plaza Hotel. From the first day of arrival, the six students attended workshops, and Ms. Brewer and Ms. Hengesbaugh judged and coordinated events. That led up to the main competition, where all students presented their projects individually in front of a panel of three judges.
“It’s difficult to get up in front of the judges,” notes Ms. Brewer. “It’s fun to see them [students] with confidence and blossom.”
After the competition, FCCLA members were able to relax and enjoy an evening full of food and dancing. Ms. Brewer and Ms. Hengesbaugh both commented on the “very nice banquet and dance” hosted by the hotel. Many people, including the adults, were keen on partying once the competition was over.
“[Ms. Hengesbaugh] danced,” laughed senior Ashley Pascoe, another FCCLA gold medalist. “She busted a move!”
The last day of the FCCLA State Leadership Conference was ultimately the most exciting out of the whole weekend. That was when every student was able to receive their scores on their projects.
Beatty, who chose to construct a chapter scrapbook for a life event, won two Gold Medal scores: one for the State Competition and the other for the National Competition in the life event category. Her choice of life event, which could have been any broad subject, happened to be a road trip. Beatty had to describe the food, lodging, shopping and additional details in her chapter binder. Of course, being able to supply a creative edge to her project was a bonus.
“I like scrapbooking,” Beatty says. “It’s always been a hobby of mine.”
Jacqueline Marsack, a sophomore, also chose to craft a chapter scrapbook for the life event category. She won a Silver Medal score for her life event planning project, a trip to Germany, and her chapter scrapbook was able to be submitted in a separate state-level category which won a Gold Medal score. Though her project will not advance into the National Competition, Marsack’s efforts definitely stood out.
Seniors Jana Pietila and Laura Eskola worked together as a team on the Entrepreneurship event. They both engineered the idea of a new business called “Perk Up”, a mobile coffee unit that offered companions to older adult customers. Pietila and Eskola were required to form a plan for the business, such as arranging the proper funding, laws, and regulations. The pair spent long hours constructing a chapter binder that held 63 pages of detailed material. But overall, the amount of hard work paid off because they won a Gold Medal score on the National Competition level.
Senior Brittany Faba chose to complete a project in the Recycle and Redesign category. She initiated a more hands-on approach to the competition by using old sweatshirts from home and remaking the material to form cupcake pin cushions. Faba, spending a good period of time on her project, happily walked away with a National Gold Medal score.
Pascoe, on the other hand, managed to showcase her skills of impromptu teaching in the Early Childhood event. Pascoe was given about 30 minutes to create a custom lesson plan on the spot before presenting her results in front of the judges.
“I think I’m very lucky,” says Pascoe, recalling how her lesson plan included meeting the needs of a deaf child, while her competitor was given a child with autism. “I don’t know how I would have done it if I was her [competitor].”
Pascoe obviously demonstrated excellent wit, for she too received a Gold Medal score on the national level for her impromptu performance. That is, she received the gold after the judges skipped over her name in the announcements.
“They forgot me completely!” she exclaims.
Ms. Hengesbaugh agrees, sighing, “They did mess up a lot of things.”
Overall, however, every HHS student who participated in FCCLA received their awards. Four out of the five National winners are actually travelling to Anaheim, California this summer from July 9-14 to participate in the National FCCLA Competition.
With months of hard work and dedication put into preparation for the State Competition, the four lucky travelers will undoubtedly enjoy soaking up the sun this July while taking part in activities such as a tour of Los Angeles and Hollywood, a half day at the beach, and three days at Disneyland.
“They [FCCLA National Competition] always have neat stuff like that for us,” Ms. Brewer reflects.
Naturally, both Ms. Hengesbaugh and Ms. Brewer are excited for this summer’s events. They are proud of every HHS student who was involved in the State Conference and are looking forward to advising future victorious students.
“It’s hard work, but they seem to always shine,” Ms. Brewer smiles.