Waconia FCCLA students compete at nationals

Waconia High School FCCLA members Kaija Kottke and David Niaz (not pictured) competed at the 2012 National Leadership Conference held in Orlando, Fla., July 8-12. Submitted Photo
Waconia High School FCCLA members Kaija Kottke and David Niaz (not pictured) competed at the 2012 National Leadership Conference held in Orlando, Fla., July 8-12. Submitted Photo

More than 6,300 nationwide members, advisers, alumni, and guests of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), gathered for the 2012 National Leadership Conference held in Orlando, Fla., July 8-12.
This year’s student-originated theme for the annual national meeting was “#realitycheck,” inspired by social media.
FCCLA members nationwide attended outstanding workshops, took part in a variety of competitive events, visited vendor exhibits, and explored the many “must see” sites of Orlando. Attendees “discovered the true meaning of leadership, got inspired to change the world as we know it, continue toward new horizons, create a brighter future, and leave a lasting legacy,” a message from the team of 2011-12 student officers (National Executive Council) who planned the conference.
Throughout the five-day convention, participants examined and discussed several critical issues, including family, school and community violence prevention, physical as well as financial fitness, future career exploration, and countless community service projects.
The Waconia High School FCCLA chapter traveled to Orlando; student attendees included Kaija Kottke and David Niaz along with their advisor Sue Hartwig (FCS teacher at Waconia) and Tammy Kottke (Kaija’s mother).
Kottke and Niaz attended several workshops that helped strengthen their speaking skills, FCCLA knowledge, and membership ideas for the upcoming years, and topics about bullying awareness, texting and driving, and eating disorders. All of these workshops were run by past National Officers and helped build leaderships skills for all participants. State meetings were held for three nights to help strengthen each state and help each state association get to know more members.
Kottke, who is a junior at Waconia High School, will continue to work with other FCCLA members and advisers in Minnesota to encourage others to discover their strengths, motivate members to target career goals, and initiate a plan to ignite youth leadership in the community.
Kottke, daughter of Mark and Tammy Kottke, received a Gold (1st Place) medal in the Chapter Showcase Manual category, one of 28 national STAR (Students Taking Action with Recognition) Events available to FCCLA students. Her medal was presented at a recognition session honoring participants on July 12.  Waconia High School was proud of Kottke representing our chapter in this competition.  The Chapter Showcase Manual event recognizes chapters that develop and implement a well-balanced program of work and promote FCCLA and Family Consumer Sciences and related occupations and skills to the community.
David Niaz, who is a freshman at St. Thomas this year, also participated at the National Competition with his STAR Event, Career Investigations and received a Silver (2nd Place) medal. Niaz worked with the national program Career Connections, which helps members look at job opportunities that suits their personality. Niaz started his project by taking various personality tests and job aptitude tests to find various results that fit his personality and career goals. He job shadowed and interviewed many individuals within the career of his choice, a Software Engineer. Finishing the project, David made a timeline of how he will achieve his goal of becoming a Software Engineer through his college life. Using his technology knowledge, he made an electronic portfolio on his iPad and presented his experience to a panel of judges who evaluated his project.
FCCLA’s STAR Events (Students Taking Action with Recognition) are based on the belief that every student is a winner. Competition, evaluation, and recognition all stress cooperation as the basis of success. Both youth and adults work together to manage the events and serve as evaluators of the participants.
Along with going to meetings and workshops, all Waconia representatives spent time touring the great state and city of Orlando. Walt Disney World was a great way to start off the weeklong trip on the first night. There are no fireworks like the ones at the Magic Castle, which start off with Tinker Bell flying down from the castle. A day at Coco Beach was nice and relaxing before competing at the highest level in the FCCLA organization.  Universal Studios was a fun night for the national convention attendees to fill the park and enjoy a night with all FCCLA members. Shamu cooled Kaija, David, Sue and Tammy off after a nice long day at Sea World. Kaija and David made sure that the adult chaperones would be in the front row of the scariest ride at Sea World just to see the funny faces on the camera screen at the end of the ride. Laying in the hot Florida sun for the last day of the trip was the perfect way to end a perfect trip.
Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), is a dynamic and effective national student organization that helps young men and women become leaders and address important personal, family, work, and societal issues though Family and Consumer Sciences education.
FCCLA has over 199,000 members and over 6,500 chapter form 50 state associations, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The organization has involved more than ten million youth since its founding in 1945.

This article is by Kaija Kottke, a junior at Waconia High School.