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FCCLA students attend state conference, earn STAR awards

Newly elected officers include, from left, Nellie Branchaud, Breann Hogie and Rilee Burnside. Submitted Photo

Minnesota Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) hosted its annual state conference in Bloomington from April 11-13.

Over those three days, youth members along with adult chaperones and advisors participated in engaging activities, and competed in STAR Events. Among those attending were 46 chapter members from the Lake Park-Audubon FCCLA Chapter, Advisor Cheryl Hogie, School Administrator Dale Hogie, and parent chaperones, Sue Dahlgren, Claudia Hanson, Kristen Peterson and Kristi Pederson.

Craig Scott, this year’s keynote speaker, was a student at Columbine High School over a decade ago where his sister, Rachel Joy Scott, was the first of 13 victims shot. The Scott family started an organization — Rachel’s Challenge — that believes in combating youth violence through a curriculum of kindness and compassion, keeping Rachel’s spirit and morals alive.

LPA Chapter President Emily Sunram holds the chapter trophy

Student FCCLA officers learned about the program at Minnesota’s November Summit conference, and it has inspired schools statewide to incorporate Rachel’s Challenge locally. FCCLA’s State Peer Education team will moderate various Rachel activities throughout State Conference.

Additionally, State Peer Educators are well knowledgeable in the National FCCLA program STOP the Violence (STOP standing for Students Taking On Prevention) to incorporate this curriculum into the conference.

Another feature at the state conference includes participation in over 30 different categories through STAR Events. Chapter members give presentations about projects they’ve organized and executed this past year — having advanced from Regional competitions — for an opportunity to attend the National Leadership Conference in Nashville this summer.

LPA Chapter Members Paul Jenson and Clay Anderson celebrate advancing to the National Conference in Chapter Service Display

Projects cover a wide scope of current issues that address anything from bullying, to fitness, to traffic safety. Students attend an Academy Awards session Friday evening to receive STAR Event results, including awards in bronze, silver, and gold categories dependent on performance. Many STAR Events give students the opportunity to ignite youth leadership in the community, stressing cooperation as the basis of success.

LPA students brought home 18 Gold Medals and 3 Silver Medals in the STAR Events categories. In addition, LPA chapter members Rilee Burnside and Nellie Branchaud were elected to the State Peer Education Team and LPA junior, Breann Hogie was elected to the State Executive Council as the Vice President of Community Service.

LPA Chapter has top honors with 12 teams advancing from the Gold Level to the National Level, being selected by a panel of state judges.

FCCLA has nearly 7,000 chapters from 50 state associations, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The organization has involved more than 10 million youth since its founding in 1945.

Family Career and Community Leaders of America is unique among youth organizations because its programs are planned and run by student members.

LPA chapter members Tory Haglund and Justin Hanson

It is the only Career and Technical 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.