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Murray Journal

Murray High students gain life skills through FCCLA

Jul 03, 2023 12:55PM ● By Julie Slama

At Murray High, FCCLA members develop and practice skills—creative and critical thinking, communication, goal setting, problem solving, decision making—which they will use not only in school, but throughout their lives, said their adviser, Stephanie Bradstreet.

“In our chapter of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, we open our activities to anyone and really make them fun so everyone may be enjoying learning something new,” she said.

While FCCLA is a smaller chapter, especially from the impact of COVID-19, some of these activities have attracted upward of 50 students.

“My favorite was when we decorated pumpkins, and it was more of a fun social interaction, but it really let others in the school know about us,” she said.

Other chapter meetings focused more on skills, which helps prepare members for more than 30 STAR or Students Taking Action events at the region and state competitions.

“Our students chose which ones they wanted to participate in. We had four students compete at region—junior Preston Giles competed in culinary arts, senior Brooke Bodily did baking and pastry, junior Brooklyn Bachler took part in interior design and junior Paola Alonso competed in career investigation. The core of FCCLA is taking what you learn in your family and consumer sciences classes and applying it to compete in STAR events,” she said.

Murray High’s Giles and Bachler earned silver and Alonso and Bodily received bronze at region. At state, Bachler and Alonso both took bronze.

“I am proud of my students. Both of my students who competed in the food contests had practiced the recipes before competing. It was fun to see the process from beginning to end,” she said.

For Bodily, it marks the end of her high school career. Last year, as head of the school Prostart team that competed nationally, she chose to compete in baking, making a 6-inch two-layered vanilla cake with buttercream frosting and a raspberry filling. She piped the edges and wrote "Aspire" along the top—all within a three and one-half hour time limit.

Giles, also is an active member of Prostart, had to make chicken piccata with parmesan roasted broccoli within a two-hour period, including clean-up time.

“It’s a lot of hard work; they all put in a lot of time,” she said. “My favorite part of FCCLA has been seeing how students take what they learned in the classroom and taking those skills and applying it to their competitive events.”

For example, Bachler, who has taken both interior design classes and competed in interior design last year, “adapted her presentation from what she learned and made it more applicable. She has more confidence from last year to this year and that has been huge. Her concept of design and the way that she has organized her presentation boards has been really cool to see that growth as well,” Bradstreet said.

Bachler’s design was of a Youth in Crisis Center, based on the scenario provided by the FCCLA National Board. The design required her to make professional decisions on seating arrangements, types of furniture, wall treatments, floor treatments, and textiles and give a 15-minute oral presentation in front of three judges. She also provided an invoice of how much her items would cost, showing that her design was under the designated budget. 

Alonso also has taken both interior design classes and financial literacy, which helped her with her career investigation contest. During her financial literacy course, she took a series of games to determine which careers she may best be matched with; interior design was amongst her top results, so she participated in a six-week internship with a local interior designer. 

“She made design choices for real clients, and she worked closely with furniture stores to find the best products for her boss,” Bradstreet said, adding that she used that experience in her presentation to compete in front of judges.

Students also participated in the FCCLA week in February, which included dress-up theme days from wearing neon because the future is bright with FCCLA to wearing red because FCCLA is incREDible. 

“It was great to see not just students participating, but the teachers as well,” Bradstreet said, adding that the chapter sold candygrams as their fundraiser that week, tying into Valentine’s delivery.

The student members are known for their service; most recently they cleaned the faculty lounge as a service to teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week.

The student leadership team, including Bachler as president, and Alonso as vice president, attended the fall leadership conference where they met other FCCLA officers and attended workshops.  

It was after the fall leadership conference that Bradstreet was one of two Utah advisers who were selected to go to Denver for a chapter advisers’ summit.

“We met with the FCCLA national board members, and we had a lot of collaboration activities with about 200 teachers from all around the country,” she said.

One of the workshops she enjoyed was one which compared FCCLA to a taco.

First, participants were given a 6-inch paper plate to color yellow, then folded it in half.

“That’s our FCCLA taco,” she said. “Then we were given brown paper in the shape of ground beef which represented our members. They’re the foundation of the taco. And then we were given green pieces of paper, which are the skills that our students learn by participating in FCCLA—public speaking, leadership, communication. They represent our lettuce in the taco. Then, the tomatoes are the STAR events our students compete in. Then, we have the cheese, more yellow pieces of paper, and these are the places where students can enact the most change, at their high school and school board. For me, it would include the school board region conference, and the National Leadership Conference.”

It’s a memento Bradstreet keeps to remind her how to implement FCCLA into her classroom and how to explain to students how all the pieces fit together. 

“Going forward, I’m going to have a month-by-month plan so when I meet with my officers at the beginning of the school year, we can outline their vision for the school year with their ideas from monthly meetings and fundraising to service opportunities,” she said. λ