Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Colorado FCCLA State Conference 2012

Taking students to the state conference was somewhat of a different experience for me this year. Although I have taken students in the past, it had always been at the most 4 girls and sometimes even less. This year 8 girls and 1 guy attended from Sierra. It was a great experience for both the students and me.

My students became enthused about going to this conference after attending a day long seminar at Johnson and Wales earlier in the year. Many of my students come from lower socio-economic families and have not done much traveling. For some of them, this was their first time going to Denver! And it was their first time seeing a college campus outside of our local choices. So, with the exposure to seeing other high school students involved in Family and Consumer Science classes type issues, they became excited that they could get to attend the 3 day conference.

Of course the biggest issue was how to pay for it all. I told them if they were willing to do the fund raising involved, we could go. So fundraising is what we did for most of the winter into spring! All the students who attended were in my Catering classes so the obvious way to raise money was through food. Sierra students and faculty were both the beneficiaries and the ones who funded our trip. Bake sales, teacher dinners and holiday sales kept us very busy, but eventually the money needed was raised.

There was much excitement leading up to the conference as none of my students had ever attended any type of conference. Most had never stayed at a large hotel! There were many questions and issues to be addressed, but all went smoothly and we arrived in Denver.

Without going into too much detail, my students had a great experience. Many of the experiences were eye-opening for some of them, beginning with the large nice hotel and nice rooms to having the hundreds of students walking around. Attending the first evenings gathering to dancing on Friday night they were constantly learning about new things they had never been exposed to before.

Though the FCCLA conference fulfills a variety of needs for students from many schools through out Colorado, from competitions to developing leadership skills, for my students attending this year’s conference may have had a little different meaning. I feel they learned that they can now look for opportunities that are available to them, do what it takes to get to there (fundraising), and then take advantage of what that experience has to offer. 

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