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Midvale Journal

Hillcrest FCCLA student to compete in nationals

Jun 02, 2023 11:47AM ● By Julie Slama

A Hillcrest High student is planning to compete at nationals in FCCLA this summer.

In the state’s competitive events for FCCLA, or Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, junior Yati Thein place second, qualifying her to compete in nationals. The national competition will be held July 2-6 in Denver.

Students across the state competed in more than 30 STAR competitive events, or Students Taking Action with Recognition events. The events prepare students for proficiency and achievement in chapter and individual projects, leadership skills and career preparation. FCCLA chapters prepares members for careers through its four career pathways: human services, hospitality and tourism, education and training, and visual arts and design.

In the STAR events, students 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.

Thein made pillows for every student in a special needs class.

“She picked out different materials for the students in the class that she knew they’d like and sewed 15 of them,” said her chapter adviser, Lisa McCloud. “She put in a lot of work and they absolutely loved them.”

McCloud said 11 of the 30 student members chose to compete at region and eight qualified for state. Many of the chapter members earned silver and gold medals.

Some of the chapter’s service projects translated into competitive events. For example, the chapter helped with Hillcrest’s community pantry, which needed cleaning kits. 

“Our students put together 25 cleaning kits with Clorox wipes and spray and sanitizer, and all these different things; a couple girls used it for their chapter service project, which I think they did a phenomenal job,” McCloud said. “It meant these cleaning kits could go out to 25 homes in the area, where people didn’t have sanitary living conditions.”

Seniors Kay Erekson and Taomi Atwood competed at region and state with that project. Erekson said the project was chosen to help “achieve global cooperation and harmony, and to provide opportunities for making decisions and assuming responsibility.”

She estimates the impact of the cleaning supplies as well as 40 bags of donated food, was great.

“It involved a lot of people, and it impacted about 300 people from our chapter members who came and helped put together the cleaning kits to people who made donations, and then all of the families who received the food or received the cleaning kits,” Erekson said.

Their project received gold at state.

Other students competed in the culinary competition, in the baking and pastry contest, and in fashion construction.

“She sewed a beautiful dress and was judged on her zippers and buttonholes and inset sleeves and different skills that she showed she was able to do. It was a lot of work,” McCloud said.

Some of the projects’ supplies, such as the batting for the pillows and the Lysol wipes for the cleaning kits, were purchased with chapter funds. In October, the chapter planned and held Husky Howl, the school’s Halloween dance, which proceeds were earmarked to help with chapter service projects and for competitions.

Another activity the chapter did was literacy-based, where members looked at a word on a page in a book, which then they incorporated into a poem, McCloud said.

“They were just writing them for themselves and having a lot of fun doing it. It was creative, and they learned how to collaborate,” she said.

During other meetings, the chapter has decorated cupcakes, made smoothies and created bracelets. They hold an annual luau at the end of the school year.

McCloud, who has advised Hillcrest’s chapter for 15 years, said along with the FCCLA Fall Leadership Conference, her officers have learned leadership skills through planning meetings and organizing events.

“They have really been invested; they show up and do what they’re supposed to. This year, they’ve been very welcoming and inclusive. This club has a place for everyone; we have people from all different walks of life, especially with the diversity at Hillcrest; and we have kids from different socio-economic groups, races and genders and everything. I just love that. It doesn’t matter who you are, you’re welcome at FCCLA and you can find a purpose,” she said.

Erekson is a second-year officer. She has taken several family and consumer science classes as she is preparing to attend Salt Lake Community College with a career goal of becoming an elementary school teacher.

“I had lots of good elementary school teachers when I was growing up and I really liked working with kids so when a friend invited me, I thought FCCLA would help me with my career goals and with my public speaking and organizational skills,” she said. “My favorite part of FCCLA is how everyone is included in all the activities we do and how happy we make people.” λ