After having nine students travel to Nashville for last year’s FCCLA National Leadership Conference–eight by virtue of their state performances on their STAR (Students Taking Action with Recognition) Event projects– the Badger FCCLA Chapter will be represented again at this year’s National Conference. Six students, sophomores Kennedy Truscinski, Tessa Blumer, and Emma VonEnde, and eighth graders Hailey VonEnde, Kadeyn Keller, and Greta Lee will travel to Atlanta for this year’s National FCCLA Conference, June 27-July 3 — all thanks to their state STAR Event project performances.
“Our Badger FCCLA chapter members work hard all year long and when they experience this level of success, it inspires them to develop themselves even further the next year,” Badger FCCLA Advisor Gretchen Lee said via email. “Their development may come through attending meetings, trainings, becoming an officer, championing a project, but always striving to become a better leader for their families, school community, and their futures. That is why these opportunities are important, for inspiration of our future leaders.”
As for FCCLA in general, the students enjoy it for the different opportunities it provides and the skills it teaches. In seventh grade, Truscinski didn’t want to join, but her older sister Madison convinced her to. Since then she has attended the National Conference as a state officer during her ninth grade year and is a state officer again this year.
“Without that (push to join FCCLA), I would probably not be able to be talking to you right now,” Truscinski said. “I would be so shy and I’ve talked in front of like 2,000 people now on stage, so it’s crazy, and I meet lots of new people and I’m just a lot more social.”
As the Badger FCCLA members explained, this organization not only helps one develop social skills but also social connections.
“It’s like a whole different family that you just know; everybody’s just so connected through it,” Emma VonEnde said.
FCCLA also teaches time management and organizational skills, and other skills related to the STAR Event project one is taking one.
During the trip to Atlanta, the students look forward to several things, including taking in some sites. The students are even renting bikes to get around. Emma VonEnde talked about seeing the Georgia Aquarium, the largest fish aquarium in the U.S..
Outside the sites, they also look forward to meeting up with and trading pins with people from across the country, including those they already have come to know through FCCLA.
“I have an FCCLA family basically, so just getting to go back and see them again is going to be (exciting),” Truscinski said.
During breakout sessions at the convention, students are also encouraged to share social media information with others they don’t know to create more connections.
“It’s so fun. The energy level is just so high the whole time you’re there,” Emma VonEnde said.
They know they couldn’t experience any of this without the support behind them. When asked about any thanks they would like to give, the students instantly said Mrs. Lee and Val Truscinski, Kennedy’s mother.
Speaking of Mrs. Lee, when asked about the Badger FCCLA’s success at the state and national level, the students credited Mrs. Lee, dedicating hours– “her life” as one student put it– to her students and their projects. She recently earned an award for being one of the best FCCLA advisors.
“Everyone that does a STAR Event just works so hard, especially because Mrs. Lee will get on you if you’re not,” Hailey VonEnde said. “… She gets (you) really excited to improve and do well.”
The students also thanked the community for its support. At its May 14 meeting, the Badger School Board approved giving the FCCLA Chapter $7,500 towards its trip and more if needed.
The FCCLA students also highlighted the impact they have on their school and community though not only their projects, but also their successes, influencing young elementary students to want to be in FCCLA someday.
“We’re small, but we make a big difference,” Kennedy Truscinski said.
They have a reputation to uphold and now, as Emma VonEnde said, “They just have to keep it up.”
They will get to do just that and represent their school and community in Atlanta.
To see the full story, including info on all the projects the students are taking to the National Conference, read the June 13 issue of The Tribune in print or online.