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Students compete at National FCCLA Leadership Conference

Caitlyn Gourde, Alyssa Garza, and Madison Gourde were among those attending from the Sheyenne Ninth Grade Center.

More than 6,800 nationwide members, advisers, alumni, and guests of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), gathered in Orlando, Florida, July 8-12 for the 2012 National Leadership Conference. Alyssa Garza, Caitlyn Gourde, and Madison Gourd from the Sheyenne Ninth Grade Center were among them. They were accompanied by Mary Anderson who was their advisor at Sheyenne.

This year's student-originated theme for the annual national meeting was "#realitycheck." Throughout the five-day convention, participants examined and discussed several critical issues, including family, school and community violence prevention, physical as well as financial fitness, future career exploration and countless community service projects.

A number of relevant youth issues, such as the changing roles of men and women in the home and workplace, leadership, and obesity prevention were also explored at the meeting through presentations, workshops, and youth sessions.

Anderson and her co-advisor, Danielle Jangula will continue to work with FCCLA members and advisers in North Dakota to encourage others to discover their strengths, motivate members to target career goals, and initiate a plan to ignite youth leadership in the community. All students who will be attending Sheyenne next year are encouraged to inquire about membership.

Other meeting highlights included over 3,600 students competing in STAR Events (Students Taking Action with Recognition) which are competitive events that build proficiency and achievement in leadership and job-related skills. Alyssa, Caitlyn, and Madison competed in the Junior Division of Food Innovations with their Charmel Fries (a reduced-sugar, nonperishable snack). They received a silver medal.

A donation of $37,488.71 was presented to Share Our Strength from National FCCLA to fight childhood hunger. In addition, over 15,000 pairs of shoes were collected to benefit Soles4Souls.

There was also a Spotlight on Projects, where representatives from states share successful national, state, or chapter projects.

Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), is a dynamic and effective national student organization that helps young men and women become leaders and address important personal, family, work, and societal issues through Family and Consumer Sciences education. FCCLA has over 200,000 members and over 6,500 chapters from 50 state associations, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The organization has involved more than ten million youth since its founding in 1945. Students are able to participate at the local level in West Fargo at Cheney, Sheyenne, and WFHS.

The Ultimate Leadership Experience of FCCLA is unique among youth organizations because its programs are planned and run by members. It is the only career and technical in-school student organization with the family as its central focus. Participation in national programs and chapter activities helps members become strong leaders in their families, careers, and communities. Out of 87,994 students from across the country, 55 percent of students believe that FCCLA has a positive impact on their academic performance.