By Hayley M. Cook
WILLIAMSON – Fifteen high school students from Mingo Central High School had the chance to go to San Antonio, Texas, last week for the 2014 National Leadership Conference.
More than 7,000 Family, Career and Community Leaders of America members, advisers, alumni and guests from across the country gathered in San Antonio for the event. The conference is based on the student-originated theme “SOAR.”
Two Mingo Central students in particular were able to place nationally.
Angela Blackburn and Nicole Jones, seniors at Mingo Central, were among the members present and took part in STAR Event competitions at the conference.
Nicole Jones competed in the Career Investigation event. Her project focused on social work, because, according to her teacher, Mary Anne Testerman, Jones has decided social work is the right field for her. She received a silver medal in the event.
Angela Blackburn competed in the Chapter in Review Display. Her project focused on the work and community service the Mingo Central FCCLA Chapter did during the 2013-14 school year. She received a bronze medal in the event.
Testerman, a Mingo Central Family & Consumer Sciences/Human Services teacher and FCCLA adviser, said the most rewarding aspect of her trip was seeing the enthusiasm her students exhibited while there.
“Seeing the enthusiasm of the West Virginia group was wonderful,” Testerman said. “We had 22 students from West Virginia. Seeing them take part with the national group and seeing them interact with one another was enjoyable for me. I suppose my favorite thing about our trip is that it was all about the kids.”
Testerman added that the trip was rewarding for the students as well, saying, “They attended leadership academy classes in networking and leadership skills and learned how to use those skills to be a leader when they get home. I believe this has helped in making them more outgoing and vocal about being a positive influence here at home.”
Testerman said all of the students became involved in the competitions through her family and consumer sciences classes.
“We do projects in my classroom, working on specific areas, and some choose to go beyond class and participate in the competitions,” she said. “These two managed to place and we think it is wonderful.”
Testerman also was able to be involved in classes while there and said, “I got some new ideas with things I’m gonna do in my classroom. Every year, I try to do something different.”
The teacher added that the students were able to go sightseeing and enjoy the area during their trip. Their hotel was on the San Antonio River Walk, and students took a sightseeing cruise on the river one evening. There also was a trip to Six Flags on the afternoon after competitions were complete. Some students even had the chance to see the Alamo.
FCCLA offers more than 30 Family and Consumer Sciences-related events, also known as STAR (Students Taking Action with Recognition) events. This year, Blackburn and Jones were among more than 4,200 STAR Event participants who competed in San Antonio. This is the largest number of competitors at any National STAR Events competition.
Family, Career and Community Leaders of America is a national student organization that helps young men and women become leaders and address personal, family, work and societal issues through Family and Consumer Sciences education. FCCLA has 200,000 members and more than 5,500 chapters from 49 state associations, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
The organization has involved more than 10 million youth since its founding in 1945.