Several Roanoke County students have been busy traveling around the country for national competitions this summer.
Most recently, William Byrd High School students Skylar Fitzgerald and Dakota Vaughan, along with teammate Olivia Bott from Glenvar, earned gold medals and placed 10th overall in “Professional Presentation” at the FCCLA National Leadership Conference competition—quite a feat. These students are also students at the Burton Center for Arts and Technology (BCAT).
On the final day of the conference, they were honored on the national stage at a special awards ceremony.
The competition was held in San Diego from June 29 through July 3. The students flew out of Charlotte to Las Vegas and then on to San Diego.
According to their families, the students “had a ball.” Dakota Vaughan was surprised on his first morning in San Diego by what he saw when he turned on his TV and there was the message, “Welcome, Dakota!” on the screen. Apparently, all the others attending the conference received personalized welcome messages as well.
Th Byrd/BCAT students were recognized earlier in the spring at the 2022 Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) State Leadership Conference earning Gold Medals and 1st place trophies, which allowed them to advance to nationals.
Every year, FCCLA members from across the country gather at the national conference to network with fellow members, attend leadership workshops, take part in Competitive STAR (Students Taking Action with Recognition) Events, explore career pathways, and learn from industry experts.
STAR Events allow students to compete individually or as a team. There are more than 30 STAR Events students can choose to compete in, all of which recognize participants who 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.
The BCAT team of Vaughan, Fitzgerald, and Bott chose to enter the Professional Presentation event, making an oral presentation about issues concerning Family and Consumer Sciences. Their presentation was entitled “Keeping Stress in Check.”
They joined thousands of other FCCLA student members, advisers, and guests at the San Diego Convention Center. The theme of this year’s conference was “Make It Count,” which challenged attendees to share how they make it count while exploring career opportunities, developing leadership skills, and growing personally while making a difference in their families and communities.
“We are thrilled to have an attendance of over 7,000 members, advisers, corporate partners, and guests who are committed to discovering the unlimited possibilities available through FCCLA,” said Sandy Spavone, Executive Director of FCCLA. “The relationships and skills developed during this conference have inspired students to make a difference in their own communities and to make every moment count.”
FCCLA is a national student organization with over 199,000 members nationwide. It is unique among youth organizations because its programs are planned and run by members, and it’s the only career and technical in-school student organization with a central focus on careers that support families.
In addition to competing in STAR Events, the Byrd/BCAT students and their chaperones were also able to tour San Diego and visit Disneyland.