VERSAILLES — Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) and its 200,000 members celebrated “National FCCLA Week” Feb. 6-10.
FCCLA is a non-profit national career and technical student organization for young men and women in Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) education, in public and private schools through grade 12. FCCLA is the only national Career and Technical Student Organization with the family as its central focus, according to fcclainc.org.
Versailles High School’s 29 FCCLA students celebrated the week under the theme “Unlimited Possibilities.” Each day of the week brought activities to promote areas of focus in the organization. Some of the events included: making breakfast for the high school staff, a trivia and scavenger hunt and duct-taping a member of the staff in the cafeteria, during senior lunch.
Students voted, and the winning staff member was Social Studies Teacher John Jackson, who was duct-taped 110 times around. Students paid $1 per wrap – one student paid $15. The proceeds went to Dayton Children’s Hospital. Jackson said he was fearless of the event, as he had 10 years in the U.S. Marine Corps doing new and exciting things.
“If the students nominated me as someone they would like to see taped up, then I’m honored to accept such a challenge,” he said. “As a teacher, I ask them to challenge themselves in my classroom. Not by just completing work or getting As, but to challenge themselves – to think at a higher level, to push themselves to go beyond their comfort zone and to try things that are different. Here, they are asking me to do the same.”
According to Jackson, the benefits of the FCCLA organization, are leadership and discipline.
“FCCLA provides students with information about programs in the schools, community, and their future professions,” he said. “It teaches students how to organize and focus on social issues, family matters, and career development. Very few programs teach these life lessons that students will need for their next chapter in life after high school.”
FCCLA President and high school Senior Kasey Hammons said she is able to better herself through the organization by also improving her community.
“It’s teaching me a lot of communication skills. As president, I have to be able to get everybody together and make sure everyone agrees on one thing,” she said.
According to FCCLA Advisor and FCS Teacher Pat Rhoades, the purpose of National FCCLA week is for members to plan and carry out activities, and encourage others to do the same. Also, to affect positive change and demonstrate how FCS education can help them achieve the “Ultimate Leadership Experience”.
Rhoades came out of retirement to work as an FCS teacher three years ago. She became the FCCLA Advisor two years ago, and in that time, the program has really grown, she said.
“We are making progress,” she said.
While there are many programs in FCCLA, most of the students choose “Power of One”, Rhoades said. According to FCCLA, “Power of One” helps students find and use their personal power. Members set their own goals, work to achieve them, and enjoy the results.
“It is completely a growth to themselves,” Rhoades said. “They choose what they want to improve upon, and if they meet all of their requirements they can go to the state competition. Right now I have about seven planning to do that.”
Another student is going to compete in the regional competition March 4 with a childcare project, Rhoades said.
“I don’t force the kids to compete because sometimes that is a turn off to them,” she said.
Another big part of FCCLA is community service. The students recently collected 2,000 items for the local veterans, such as clothing, toiletries and candy. They help serve lunches at the Trinity Lutheran Church, in Versailles, and they are collecting bottle tabs for the Dayton Children’s Hospital.
“I enjoy seeing the kids succeed,” Rhoades said. “FCCLA is an organization that accepts students across the board. It gives kids other opportunities to shine. The week let other students know that they too can be a part of this.”