By Emily Banks Wooten
Livingston High School CTE (Career/Tech) Coordinator Blake Thornton and four Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) students recently presented a program for the Rotary Club of Livingston. Cole Gann, Jy’Asia Terry, Emma Bradley and Sofia Fitzgerald all serve as regional and state officers for Texas FCCLA.
Prior to turning it over to the students, Thornton provided a recap of the FCCLA achievements from the 2022-2023 school year. Three students were elected to serve as Region IV officers and one student was elected to serve as a Texas FCCLA state officer for the 2023-2024 school year. Thirty-three teams competed at the regional level, with four students placing first, five placing second, one placing third, four placing fourth and three placing fifth.
During the Region IV conference, $12,500 in scholarships were awarded to competitors from the Escoffier School of Culinary Arts. For the Region IV service project, 102 items were donated to CASA of Galveston. Seventeen teams competed at state, with one placing first, two placing third and two placing fifth.
There was one competitor at the national conference. The region and state officers also attended and gained valuable leadership skills throughout the week in Denver. One student brought home a gold medal in her event, placing fourth in the nation. The students attending national had the opportunity to visit Garden of the Gods, the Air Force Academy and Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum.
Members at the national conference listened to national officer candidate speeches and gave valuable insight to the voting delegates for Texas FCCLA which had two national officer candidates, with one being successfully elected.
The region and state officers attended a week-long officer training camp. During this time, they planned yearly fall leadership, region conference and state conference. They created media materials to be used throughout the year and learned how to be leaders and advocate for FCCLA. They selected “Uncover the possibilities” as the theme for the 2023-2024 school year. They also practiced etiquette and parliamentary procedures.
The students shared how the opportunity to join FCCLA organization is offered to any students enrolled in family and consumer sciences classes anywhere in the country. The LHS chapter has monthly meetings and events. They encourage members to compete and engage in leadership activities, attend regional conferences and workshops. LHS hosted a fall leadership workshop that introduced new members to community service opportunities and a record 130 students attended from Livingston and surrounding schools. The local chapter at LHS has a school record of almost 300 members. There are 28,000 members in the state and LHS has had much success at the state and national level competitions. The FCCLA advisors are Chef Kristi Gann, Cayla Young and Laura Gokey.
Cole Gann talked about the number of ways to get involved and reviewed some of the goals for this year, one of which is to show every one of the members that they have a place with FCCLA.
Jy’Asia Terry talked about how FCCLA participation benefits the school and the students by providing scholarships and introducing them to various careers. She said they have the opportunity to compete in events and participate in job interviews which helps to prepare them for the real world. She said their national leadership conference will be in Seattle, Wash. this year.
Sofia Fitzgerald talked about attending the leadership conferences and how FCCLA creates a safe environment for students, allowing them to take the lead in their studies and their lives. She also spoke highly of the FCCLA advisors, adding that they serve in leadership positions within the region.
Emma Bradley talked about the various community service projects in which the students participate.
“Unfortunately, we hear all the negatives that go on in the world, but I could bring in any one of these individuals and say this is representative of our best students. They understand respect and hard work and it makes me proud to see them grow as people,” Thornton said.