Three from Mitchell's FCCLA chapter place in top ten at national conference

·5 min read

Jul. 17—MITCHELL — San Diego sounds like an ideal place to take a vacation trip. The warm weather. The beaches. The attractions.

Three Mitchell students did indeed travel to San Diego recently, but not only for pleasure. Their main focus was attending and competing at the

2022 National Family, Career and Community Leaders of America Leadership Conference,

held June 29 through July 3, where all three placed in the top ten of their competition categories, capping another successful year for the local organization.

"It's been an outstanding year," said Suzanne Skinner, advisor for the Mitchell chapter of FCCLA. "We had strong leadership. Not necessarily a large group of members, but strong members."

The trio of Hope Baysinger, Megyn Estrada and Jordan Platt, all eighth graders from Mitchell, were part of the group traveling to California after having a run of success in their Students Talking with Recognition (STAR) event category at the state conference in April in Sioux Falls. A total of 12 competitors from Mitchell took part in 10 events

at the state level.

STAR events are competitive events in which members are recognized for their proficiency and achievement in chapter and individual projects, leadership skills and career preparation. The events allow students to compete individually or a team.

There are more than 30 STAR events students can choose in which to compete, all of which concern families, careers, communities, researching topics and developing and implementing projects to advocate for positive change.

The events serve to support student development of knowledge and skills by enhancing the classroom experience at career pathway initiatives by equipping students with employable skills and industry insights needed to thrive in the 21st century, Skinner said.

Estrada took third place nationally with her Sustainability Challenge project portfolio, giving a 10-minute oral presentation about ways people can benefit the environment. It was a project that complemented a recently-restarted Mitchell Middle School recycling effort, Skinner said.

"It tied in the fact that Mitchell Middle School started recycling this year, like the annual pop tab collection. She did a lesson to seventh grade FACS (Family and Consumer Sciences) students to increase awareness of what we put into the landfills and to make our environment more sustainable," Skinner said.

Baysinger and Platt also finished in the top ten, though their final placings were not provided.

Baysinger presented on her Junk to Jewelry project, competing in the Repurpose and Redesign category. She showed how to use paper to make beads for jewelry along with a cost and marketing plan during her 10-minute presentation. That project included a fundraiser making beaded bands for Mothers Day, Skinner said.

"She repurposed and redesigned old magazines and newspapers and made them into paper beads and put them together to make jewelry," Skinner said.

Platt compiled a Career Investigation portfolio of self-assessments, career research and job shadowing in elementary education. He gave a 10-minute presentation and then answered questions from the judges.

"He would like to be an elementary teacher, and he did a self-assessment to see if that would be a fit," Skinner said.

Platt signed up for FCCLA in seventh grade after enjoying being a part of the group through his sister, who had also joined in seventh grade.

"My sister joined when she was in seventh grade, and when they had their family potluck and their family activities during


I always went and I really enjoyed it. It seemed interesting to me," Platt said. "So I signed up."

Platt said he particularly enjoys learning about topics about which he is passionate. He had previously done a presentation on music, which he said he thoroughly enjoys. But he admits teaching has also been an area in which he has strong interest.

Those presentations give him and others a chance to explore potential future careers, he said.

"I did a career investigation on elementary education, and I got to interview teachers and ask them questions that I may have in the future or now about this career I'm interested in. There are just a lot of opportunities for me and other people to learn about what they like," Platt said.

Traveling for the national FCCLA conference entails presentations, workshops and interactive sessions with industry leaders, colleges and small businesses, Platt said. It also affords some time for some sightseeing. The group made stops at San Diego's famous beaches, Sea World and Little Italy.

Of course, the competition was the central focus for the group, and Platt said they enjoyed interacting with fellow FCCLA members from around the country.

"It was really fun. I learned, and I enjoyed meeting new people from different states. I really like traveling and it gave me opportunities to go to a new place instead of just in South Dakota," Platt said.

Skinner said there were 22 members taking part in FCCLA this year, but she's always hoping and willing to add even more. Students can begin taking part in seventh grade, which is a great time for students to be thinking about personal growth and their future. FCCLA is great at nurturing and cultivating those ambitions, she said.

"It's a great way to build leadership. Whatever level they're at, we can take it further. And the service component takes it further, exploring those career options through the projects," Skinner said.

Recruitment for the next school year has already begun, and Platt said interested students should give joining the group some thought, even if it hadn't crossed their mind in the past. He speaks from experience and knows the fun and benefits that can arise out of being a part of the organization.

"I'd say if you're interested in any kind of job, there is always a presentation in STAR events that is suitable to do. And if you want to make a difference, we do a bunch of service projects in the Mitchell community," Platt said.

Skinner agreed, and she hopes to see more interested students join their ranks. They are bound to grow in knowledge and character, and may even end up with winning performances at the national level, like Baysinger, Estrada and Platt did this year.

"I'm so proud of them. They definitely represented our chapter and our community well," Skinner said.