FCCLA members earn national medals

Courtesy photo THREE MEMBERS OF Coal City High School’s chapter of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) attended the organizations national leadership conference in Nashville this summer. The students competed in events and brought home medals. Koren Frideres (front) earned a silver medal in leadership and the team of Savannah Magee (center) and Yehonatan Figuerora captured a gold medal in entrepreneurship.

     Three members of Coal City High School's chapter of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) attended the organization's 2017 National Leadership Conference.
     Held in Nashville, the conference brought together student members from across the county to take part in the FCCLA national program, Power of One. Through this program members identify a personal concern and then work to achieve their goal by developing a project in one or more areas — self improvement, strengthening family life, exploring careers, developing leadership skills, and promoting the organization.
     Seniors Savannah Magee and Yehonatan Figuerora participated at the local, state and national level with their project in entrepreneurship that found them creating a business to help the less fortunate.
     Their store, Caritas, was created to help give jobs to those who need it most; the homeless or anyone in a financial hardship.
     The team said, “we got to put our creative sides into this store with a display that showed the items and style of the store. It had a very chic design, which is also very much our style.”
     The project was inspired by the cardboard city activity the chapter participates in. Aimed at bringing about an awareness of homelessness, chapter members sleep outside in cardboard boxes one night each fall.
     “We were trying to think of a way we could help them, so we created Caritas. Of course it isn't a real business, but it felt realistic because of all the work, data and research that was involved. It was stressful at times, but Yehonatan and I never gave up and it was all worth it in the long run,” Magee said.
     In competition, the entry earned Magee and Figuerora  a score of 98 at the local level and a 90 in state competition. Having earned the high score at state, they received a gold medal and were named most outstanding. That earned them a trip to compete at the national conference where they once again earned a gold medal for their project.
     “If you give people tools, and they use their natural ability and their curiosity, they will develop things in ways that will surprise you very much beyond what you might have expected, and that is exactly what we planned to do with Caritas,” Magee said.
     Senior Koren Frideres also took part in the national conference and competed in the Students Taking Action for Recognition (STAR) event on leadership. The concept of the category is for students to reflect on their different leadership skills.
     “You are able to see what skills you excel in and what skills need development. I was able to examine myself as a leader and further improve myself as an individual,” Frideres said.
     Frideres has held numerous leadership roles in the organization. Most recently she was a state association vice president, a position that put her on the state executive council. This school year she will serve as the local chapter president.
     “As the president of the Coal City High School chapter, I believe that to be a leader you must keep improving your self so that you are qualified to encourage more leaders in your chapter,” Frideres said.
     At the local, state and national level she earned silver medals recognizing her attention to detail.
      “This project has significantly helped me set personal goals for myself as president for this upcoming year. I want to not only polish my own skills, but help other chapter members rise to the challenge of leadership,” Frideres said.
      All three students plan to participate in competition this year with the hope of earning a return trip to the national leadership conference to be held in Atlanta, Georgia.
     Donna Denault, the school's former FCCLA advisor, accompanied the students to the national conference.
     FCCLA is a national student organization that helps young men and women become leaders and address important personal, family, work and societal issues through family and consumer science education. Since being founded in 1945, the organization has involved more than 10 million youth. It is unique among student organizations because its programs are planned and run by members and is the only in-school organization with family as its central focus. Participation in national programs and chapter activities help members become strong leaders in their families, careers and communities.
      The CCHS chapter is advised this year by Lisa Stith, the school's family and consumer science teacher.