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Local FCCLA students take in national trip

The GMR FCCLA students who attended the FCCLA National Leadership Conference in Anaheim, Calif., held June 30-July 4, pose for a group photo. They are (L-R): Bella Burkel, Honna Westlund, Morgan Reed, Berlyn Burkel, Chance Christian, and Elizabeth Gust. Reed Christian, and Gust advanced to this national conference by virtue of their performances on their individual STAR Event projects at state.(photo by Mara Gust)

Badger students Amelia Wilt and Ada Lee pose for a photo at the FCCLA National Leadership Conference in Anaheim, Calif. These two students earned gold at nationals for their video presentation about online catfishing. (photo by Gretchen Lee)

Last month, the first part of the story, “Local FCCLA students taking in national trip” was featured in The Tribune. The first part highlighted the Badger FCCLA students who were attending the FCCLA National Leadership Conference in Anaheim, Calif., and the projects some of them did to advance to this national conference. Part two of this story highlights the Greenbush-Middle River (GMR) students who attended the national conference and the projects some of them did to also advance to this national stage. At the end, the awards and recognitions both chapters earned at this event will be provided.

At the Minnesota FCCLA State Conference, held on March 28-30, GMR FCCLA students Elizabeth Gust and Morgan Reed found out both had earned their way to the National FCCLA Leadership Conference in Anaheim, Calif., June 30-July 4. When asked about their reactions to this discover, they first mentioned how they both reacted upon finding out another one of their chapter team members had also advanced: Chance Christian.

“We both burst out in tears (when we heard Chance’s name). We were so happy for him,” Gust said.

They were excited for him, knowing how much this opportunity meant to him.

“Through the whole season, all he (Chance) talked about was, ‘Oh, I can’t wait to go to state. I can’t wait to go to nationals. I can’t wait to do this,’” Reed said. “And I was like, ‘Man, I’m just trying to get past regionals… He was planning the whole (national) trip before we were even going to state. So to actually hear his name get called, Chance is one of the hardest working people on our team. He works the hardest and he definitely cheers everybody else on.”

“It’s the biggest honor to go there (to nationals),” Christian said.

As the GMR FCCLA Advisor, Laura Dahl views her entire chapter’s achievements as even more special, given how much she has seen them put into their projects.

“I could not be more proud of our chapter as a whole. The dedication observed, the skills refined, and the success earned is so rewarding as an advisor,” Dahl said.

Besides the three national advancers, three other students, Berlyn Burkel, Honna Westlund, and Bella Burkel, also attended the FCCLA National Leadership Conference.The three students who did bring their STAR Event projects to the National Conference— Christian, Reed, and Gust– discussed them.

Competing in the topic area of “Entrepreneurship”, Christian did his project on the snow cone business he started during softball and summer baseball games. The first summer he did this business, he did “fairly well,” reeling in $500.

Participating in the topic area of “Food Innovations”, Reed did a project inspired by her sister, who has Celiac Disease, an “immune disease in which people can’t eat gluten because it will damage their small intestine,” according With this inspiration, Reed created a gluten-free appetizer product: krispie pops– a small rice krispie ball on top of a stick. Putting these rice krispie balls on a stick allows for more decoration and customization, Reed said

“At first I decided to do brownies, but gluten-free brownies aren’t very good, and I realized I wasn’t an expert at making them,” Reed said. “And at the time my sister was living in Wyoming, so she couldn’t really help me, but then she moved back to Minnesota and she actually was making rice krispies one day, and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s such a better idea.’” So we just took it and made it into rice krispie balls.”

She did add a little extra butter to her rice krispie treats to allow them to stay softer longer. These treats also have corn syrup in them versus malt syrup due to malt syrup having gluten in it. Despite the differences, her treats taste very much like the regular rice krispie bars, Reed explained.

Competing in the topic area of “Career Investigations”, Gust looks to be a musician and decided to look deeper into this career. She did research on this career path, including what one has to do during the high school and college years to reach a career in this field. As part of this project, she also interviewed her aunt Melanie Moos Wilson, a musician with a band in the Twin Cities.

Her presentation focused on both the work to get to a music career and her personal goals.

“To go to a good music conservatory college would be fun, like Juilliard or something,” Gust said. “But I mean if that doesn’t work out, there are lots of other colleges with good music programs, like even BSU (in) Bemidji.”
She also learned of the job opportunities a musician has out there and of a lesson that future musicians should follow.

“Take what you can get as a musician because getting jobs is pretty hard,” Gust said. “… You have to kind of stay true to yourself and keep working at it until you make it.”

Speaking of projects, Dahl talked about how she encourages her members to choose a project topic they have passion for.

“Once they do that, the research and putting their presentation (together) comes naturally,” Dahl said. “The success becomes their own.”

Local FCCLA National Results:

Out of the GMR Chapter, Chance Christian earned a gold, and Morgan Reed a bronze. Elizabeth Gust didn’t actually compete at nationals, but is still considered a national advancer. She would have presented if a finisher above her in her category would have not have been able to compete for some reason.

Out of the Badger Chapter, Ada Lee and Amelia Wit earned gold on their video project about online catfishing. Jordan Davy and Jordan Lee earned silver for their project about promoting and publicizing FCCLA. Kennedy Truscinski also earned silver for her project, “Tackle Breast Cancer for Mrs. Lee,” having organized a pink t-shirt fundraiser for her teacher and advisor Gretchen Lee, who was diagnosed with breast cancer. Speaking of Gretchen Lee, she earned the Spirit of Advising Award at this year’s FCCLA National Leadership Conference.

To see the complete story, read the August 14 issue of The Tribune in print or online. To see part one of this story, highlighting the Badger FCCLA students who attended nationals, read the July 3 issue of The Tribune in print or online.

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