Cats can and cats will! Four students from Catskill High School’s Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) chapter attend FCCLA’s 2021 Hybrid National Leadership Conference (HNLC), held this summer in Nashville, TN. Lauren Liberti and Emma Brown attended in person while Emily Allen and Rachel Marino attended virtually. Prior to the conference, Emily and Rachel competed in FCCLA’s virtual STAR Competitive Events and were recognized at HNLC for their gold-place finishes!
“This year’s HNLC was one for the books! I got to share countless memories with my NYS council while also becoming a greater leader through the many workshops that were offered during the conference,” said Emma Brown.
This year’s conference theme challenged attendees to go “Beyond Measure” and embrace their personal talents, skills, abilities, and career interests as they define for themselves what it means to “Be Me.” Despite the effects of COVID-19 on families, careers, and communities across America, FCCLA was able to provide a sense of normalcy through offering members the opportunity to safely attend the conference The event included both professional development workshops for Family and Consumer Sciences educators and leadership and career exploration sessions for youth attendees, as well as dynamic keynote speakers, engaging breakout sessions, educational leadership roundtables, an interactive EXPO, Competitive Events, and a diversity panel focused on fostering greater inclusions, access, equity, and diversity.
“While in Nashville,” Lauren Liberti said, “we were given the opportunity to network with others across the nation. To share ideas in order to strengthen both our state FCCLA and our local FCCLA chapters.”.
Our FCCLA members’ perseverance, tenacity, and resilience shined through as students nationwide participated in Student Taking Action with Recognition (STAR) Event projects. As top STAR Event competitors from NYS, Emily Allen and Rachel Marino advanced to compete virtually at HNLC. Emily and Rachel competed in three categories, Nutrition, Health and Wellness, and Fashion Construction. The pair were awarded a gold medal in each of their STAR Event categories and had the honor of being recognized nationally at this year’s HNLC.
STAR Events are competitive events in which members are recognized for their proficiency and achievement in chapter and individual projects, leadership skills, and career preparation. There are more than 30 STAR Events students can choose to compete in, all which recognize participants who demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and abilities to actively identify an issue concerning families, careers, or communities, research the topic, and develop and implement a project to advocate for positive change.
“Doing a Star Event this year is something that has been very beneficial to not only me but my family as well,” Emily explained. “I think that not only did it teach me about the topic I focused on, Nutrition and Wellness, but it also taught me other important life skills like organization and communication. My project focused on the Nutrition and Wellness of my family and I was able to help them, along with myself, find ways to change our lifestyle for the better. At times this project was challenging and it also forced me out of my comfort zone. I believe that completing a star event this year was well worth the time.”
“During my star event for Fashion Construction I learned to problem solve as I overcame obstacles during my construction. I used new techniques like flat felled seams on jeans and boning in a corset,” Rachel said.
Both youth and adults work together in managing the events and serve as evaluators of the participants. STAR Events aim to support student development of knowledge and skills by enhancing the classroom experience and Career Pathway initiatives by equipping students with employable skills and industry insights needed to thrive in the 21st century.
Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) is a dynamic and effective national student organization that helps young men and women become leaders and address important personal, family, work, and societal issues through Family and Consumer Sciences education. FCCLA reaches more than 180,000 members and over 5,000 Family and Consumer Sciences educators in the United States and territories.