FCCLA Advances to Nationals

Three teams placed at the state competition in Dallas

More stories from Lauren Alcantar


Graphic created by Trina Moore. Photo provided by Jodi Garner.

In April, FCCLA, or Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America, competed at the state competition in Dallas. Three teams competed and one will be advancing to nationals in Denver, Colorado this July. Seniors Shruthi Jaishankar and Santhoshi Penmetsa placed third in the sustainability category,  sophomores Pamela Cifuentes and Daphne Reynaga Munoz placed fourth in the chapter service project category, and junior Ayla Murphy, senior Amy Valdovino and sophomore Mya Barry placed third in the chapter service project category.

Valdovino has been in FCCLA for two years, joining after hearing Jodi Garner talk about it in her travel and tourism class.

 “We talk about a lot of community service so we go and try to help out in the community,” Valdovino said. “We’ve done events where we’ve collected items to donate and an event at a therapy horse ranch, so we do a lot of outreach.”

Valdovino wants to work in the hospitality industry in the future and understands the value of connections in it. 

“This is a lot about people and working with others so that’s a big thing,” Valdavino said. 

In addition to volunteering events, FCCLA also offers the opportunity for members to compete in all hospitality events ranging from culinary, fashion, business or travel and tourism. 

“For the chapter service project portfolio, you create a campaign or a group that does something to help the community you’re in,” Valdovino said. “So that’s what we did. We collected hats and scarfs through our project ‘Interwoven,’ and donated to the homeless. And we did a lot of events trying to also help build in the community and connect. So we did events at retirement homes and actually at school too. We’re just trying to build in the community and get back at the same time.”

At competitions such as state, members essentially showcase their projects and the impact they had on their respective communities. 

“We show up and give a slideshow of our timeline, what we started with, our plans, what we did, any conflicts we had with our schedules, our budgets, and our impact,” Valdovino said. 

Valdovino is nervous about the next level of competition that will close out her high school career.

 “They take the top two from all states so we’re competing against one hundred other teams and that’s terrifying to think about,” Valdavino said. “We definitely want to make the biggest impact we can and show how much work we put into this.”

Barry joined Valdovino’s team when she needed a third member, both later launching the ‘Interwoven’ project.

 “I thought it was going to be a lot easier than it was,” Barry said. “I had to reach out to a lot of people who wouldn’t always respond so it was a lot of pushing but still very rewarding.”

Barry’s first competition was in Corpus Christi and she went in terrified, but it turned out to be successful and fun. 

“The next time we went, it was like ‘We got this’ and we knew what we were doing so I was definitely more prepared,” Barry said. “We learned that communication is the biggest thing and with the crocheting, it takes a lot of time so we needed to start sooner.”

As part of their project, Barry and her team would go to retirement homes and teach crochet classes as a hobby. 

“That was my all time favorite because I love teaching and interacting with others so it was fun getting to see how people learned and progressed,” Barry said. “A lot of people we taught continued to crochet for fun.” 

The impact of FCCLA and their groups within is evident in the community around them as their outreach continues to grow.