FCCLA prepares for states

As the new year begins to settle in, Family Career Community Leaders of America students start to prepare the projects that they will compete with at the state’s competition. Students will be competing in the state’s competition April 1-3 based on 27 different individual or team events. These events range from advocacy, sports nutrition, tourism, recreation and to illustrated talk, which are all based on any subjects that interest the participant.

FCCLA is an organization that prides itself on creating leadership qualities in students. The organization hopes to create a sense of independence that will follow students into their careers and engineer an entrepreneurship based on the interests of each of their members.

Wakefield FCCLA takes a role in distributing these qualities into students while holding the title of the biggest chapter in the North Carolina conference. Although not all students will be competing this year, members work to create a welcoming environment for new-comers to thrive in.

“It gives students an opportunity to belong to a group here at school,” Jane Flanagan, FCCLA advisor, said. “There’s a lot of bonding, and competitions are a good experience to learn leadership and how to make formal presentations.”

Stephanie Rummel, junior, competed in last year’s competition and won gold. She specialized in fashion construction, creating a project around a black jumpsuit that she sewed and designed herself. The project displayed the fabric types and all expenses required for making the outfit, with her board showcasing her process of planning and executing all of her goals.

“I recommend doing a topic you have an interest in doing, and have it be something you want to do as you grow up because your skills will grow from it,” Rummel said.

Rummel is pursuing recycle and redesign this year and plans on incorporating her sewing talents to create a garment out of household items.

“I am a little nervous to participate this year, but as I have done this before I feel more comfortable now,” Rummel said.

FCCLA truly changed my life. I am no longer as timid to speak out about the things that I am passionate about

— Randle

Another prominent member of the club, Emily Lagnese, has had a fantastic experience competing with the other members. She competed in Interpersonal Communications for last year’s competition and was eligible for nationals that summer. She and a diverse group of students all participated in an escape room and recorded how a group of strangers work together to solve a puzzle. Collaborating with some of her friends in the club, Lagnese put the project together and presented it at last year’s states competition. Together, they won a silver medal and were a scorer in their category.

“The project itself was a lot of fun for everyone, and even while presenting we realized how much more passionate we were about our project because we worked so hard on it,” Lagnese said.

Lagnese goes on to explain her excitement about what possibilities could be available after the state’s competition. If it doesn’t create an interest in a potential career, states can unlock the possibility to compete at the national level.

“Nationals is super exciting and I look forward to the prospect of hopefully attending this year, as I was unable to last year. If your project wins at the state level this year, you will be invited to travel to Anaheim, California this summer for the next competition level,” Lagnese said.

It is mandatory for club officers to compete in events, and as a senior, President Kendra Randle is incredibly excited to be participating for her last time. Kendra joined FCCLA her freshman year of high school and promptly became an officer during her sophomore year. Randle continues to hold the same passion that she had for it when she first started. Her first year of competing she created an illustrated talk around destigmatizing mental health disorders. She’s been in love with the club ever since.

“The project gave me a platform to discuss something that is important to me and the world,” Randle said. “This started my journey for passionately and fearlessly speaking out about mental health disorders. I joined FCCLA because my older sister was an officer and adored Mrs. Bode. At the first meeting, Mrs. Bode told me that I have a beautiful presence, which stuck with me until this day.”

The club accentuates its professionalism and business-like mentality when talking about and facing careers in the world. Randle reminisces about what she has learned from the visions and values the club has upheld.

“FCCLA truly changed my life. I am no longer as timid to speak out about the things that I am passionate about.” Randle said.

FCCLA has had a myriad of themes throughout the years. Last year’s was titled “Inspired!,” and encouraged club members to explain events that motivated them to pursue life and the projects they handle. This year, FCCLA’s theme is titled “Believe in Yourself,” centered on doing anything you can set your mind to. Wakefield students are settling into this new theme by setting the right foot forward to begin their trip to states, and onward.

With the competition less than a month away, members are hurrying to complete their projects before the due date, but even as the pressure builds, many of the students still have smiles on their faces. Wherever FCCLA leads its students, just know it will always be in the right direction.

“The memories that the club has given me these past four years are endless and I cannot wait to make more at states and nationals!” Randle said.