Lanett students shine at FCCLA leadership conference

Published 10:30 am Friday, March 17, 2023

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Nowadays, many young adults wish they were better prepared for financial and career success after high school. Family and Consumer Science programs allow students to explore and challenge themselves with life and career skills, such as financial planning, wellness and entrepreneurship. 

Eight of Lanett High FACS Teacher Bella Mitchell’s students did just that when they traveled to the FCCLA State Leadership Conference in Montgomery last week to compete. 

This year was the first time that Mitchell took her students to the conferences. In their first year, every team made a 70 or higher and left with a medal.

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“I had two groups that were basically just a hair away from becoming national qualifiers, which is amazing for our first time going,” Mitchell said. “All their hard work paid off. We’ve been working on this for months.”

Two teams were awarded National Conference qualifier alternates. Taysean Darden and Briasia Hines placed silver in Sport Nutrition Level 3. Ernya Brown and Collan Dison also got a silver medal for Entrepreneurship Level 3. 

Darden and Hines were prompted to create a nutrition plan with performance goals and ranked third place. 

Whereas Brown and Dison created a business concept and developed everything from the hiring and firing process to the finance model. They created a dorm room cleaning service company. 

While both ranked in a grading scale to silver, they didn’t make it to the national conference. Both groups will be alternates for their categories at the national level. 

Naomi Crump and Elaijah Darden won gold in the Interior Design Level 3 category. Zorianna Goodman and Madison Ross placed bronze in Wellness and Nutrition Level 2. 

Crump and Darden won gold for their interior design project, making 93 out of 100. For their project, they were prompted to design an after school youth counseling center. Each space had to include certain elements such as a studio and a sitting area. 

Goodman and Ross also developed a wellness and nutrition plan for a family member. 

The students had 30 STAR events, or categorized competitions, to choose from. Topics range from food nutrition to fashion design. Some winners also get the opportunity to win scholarships to culinary or fashion programs.

“There’s just so much space for creativity and individualism,” Mitchell said. 

Each of the FACS classes that Mitchell teaches has a correlating STAR event. 

Not only did the students spend several months developing their projects but they also had to practice presenting them. A significant portion of their grade comes from their presentation score. 

“Not only did the students have to create a project, but they had to present it to judges,” Mitchell said. “So it really worked on their public speaking, which I think a lot of students are missing out on these days, especially since COVID. They’re not really able to get in front of a group and speak, so this helped with that tremendously.”

While there, the group also got some community service volunteer hours by turning t-shirts into hygiene bags to donate to a girls’ ranch in the state. 

Looking ahead, many of the students decided to participate again next year. Mitchell said they can begin working in July. 

Students who are interested in politics compete to become a state officer. Mitchell said Lanett FCCLA also plans to submit nominees for that next year. Those students campaign and are voted on by judges during the conference.

The eight students will attend the Lanett City School Board meeting in April to discuss their experience participating in the STAR events.