The St. Edward FCCLA Chapter was well represented at the national leadership meeting held July 5-9, 2015 in Washington, D.C. with eighteen members, thirteen family members and their chapter adviser.
The theme of the meeting was “Together We Are Healthy”. Over 8,000 members and adults came from every state in the nation, plus Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, to attend the conference. Sixteen of the St. Edward members competed in the national STAR events while in Washington, D.C. representing Nebraska.
Caden Cruise earned Gold Medal honors in the Environmental Ambassador, Jr. division. Also receiving Gold Medals were Alicia Hamling and Christina Hamling for their Chapter Service Portfolio, Sr. project. Receiving national Silver Medals were Shonda Shanle and Treva Tharnish in the Chapter Service Display, Jr. STAR event; Tyra Reardon in the Promote and Publicize FCCLA, Sr. category; Lainey Werts and Lacie Cruise in Chapter In Review Display, Jr. division; Noah Micek and Jonah Micek in Applied Math for Culinary Management, Sr.; and the Parliamentary Procedure, Sr. demonstration team including Sara Baustert, Jason Osantowski, Emily Cumming, Bryce Hoffmeister, Brayden Olson, and Blake Merrell. Tara Buettner, secretary of this year’s Financial Fitness State Peer Officer Team; Evan Cumming, public relations chair of the Families First State Peer Officer Team; and Sara Baustert, public relations chair of the Student Body State Peer Officer Team, all assisted with the Spotlight on Projects event while at the national meeting.
They, along with twelve other State Peer Officers from Nebraska, created and manned a display in the exhibit area to educate other FCCLA members and advisers about our Nebraska State Peer Teams. Tara, Evan, and Sara also met members of our congressional delegation at the Nebraska Breakfast on Wednesday morning.
Mrs. Virginia Whidden, St. Edward FCCLA Adviser, was honored with the Spirit of Advising award while in Washington, D.C. The award was presented by national FCCLA and the Goodhart-Wilcox Publishing Company. Mrs. Whidden also served as the Lead Consultant for the Recycle and Redesign STAR competitive event at the conference. Torrie Reardon, Vanessa Cumming, Cyndee Merrell and Evan Cumming all served as evaluators for the STAR competition at the national meeting.
Also attending from St. Edward were Annette Micek, Marc and Neal Reardon, Jule and Dean Hamling, Brad and Erica Werts, Chrystal Tharnish, Max Olson, and Sherri Cruise. Highlights of the meeting included the keynote address by Brian Bordainick, the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Dinner Lab. He started his career in education through Teach for America, teaching 11th and 12th grade at Carver High School in New Orleans and told of his success in raising $1.8 million in just two years to build a state of the art sports facility in the upper 9th Ward of New Orleans.
On Wednesday, July 8, the 8,000 delegates gathered on the lawn of our nation’s Capitol for the FCCLA Advocacy Rally celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the organization which was started as FHA in 1945. Speakers from the Departments of Education and Health & Human Services spoke at the rally. The meeting was held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center near downtown Washington, D.C.
In addition to the meeting, the St. Edward delegates had the opportunity to experience many of the memorials, museums, and historically significant attractions in the Washington, D.C. area. The meeting ended on Thursday night with the “FCCLA Ignaugral Gala” and installation of the new national officer team.
Reflecting on the national meeting, Lacie Cruise commented “I had a great time competing at nationals and I really enjoyed trading our state pins with the new people I met.”
Brayden Olson said “I enjoyed the meeting, but also liked seeing the museums and all the history that was there in the Washington, D.C. area.”
“Spending the week in Washington, D.C. was one of the best experiences I have had,” commented Noah Micek. “My brother and I competed in Applied Math for Culinary Management and were both excited to receive silver medals. There were so many sites to see, as well. My favorite was the Holocaust Museum.”
Lainey Werts commented, "I really enjoyed the meeting! It was an honor to present my star project at nationals. I liked the opening and closing sessions the best because I learned a lot about FCCLA."
Jonah Micek commented that “attending the FCCLA National Leadership Conference was one of the best times of my life. One of my favorite parts of the trip was attending the gala because I got to meet many people from different parts of our country!”
Caden Cruise "had a great time on my trip to Washington, D.C., from sessions to museums to STAR events. There was so much to see, do, and learn. I want to thank everyone who helped make our trip to nationals a reality!"