FCCLA Students Compete at National Convention


FCCLA seniors Rachel Giles (left) and Rachel Manukas (second from left) place first in the national competition.

Mary Allen, Staff Reporter

This summer, representatives Rachel Giles and Rachel Manukas, now seniors, along with coordinator Helen Owens from the FCCLA Club travelled to California to compete in the national FCCLA competition. After placing second at states in Greensboro in April, Giles and Manukas proceeded to nationals, where they presented their project for a second time and were ranked first place in North Carolina in the entrepreneurship category.

For their project, they chose to create a cultural center. They worked with International Focus, a company who coordinates international affairs for the city of Raleigh, for months before the competition to plan out the cost, construction plan and activities that would be available at the center.

Surprisingly, both Giles and Manukas said that competing on the state level was much more stressful than competing on the national level.

“Nationals was nerve-wracking, but states was worse because it’s your first time presenting your project,” Manukas said.

Despite all the stress that goes into competing, both girls felt that participating was worth the hard work.

“I think it helped me discover some of my passions and possible career interests. It really helped me learn how much I enjoy entrepreneurship and multicultural things,” Giles said. “My partner and I also had to go out of our comfort zones to interview with this big company. We were really nervous to do that. It also helped me with my public speaking skills and leadership qualities.”

Owens has been involved in FCCLA since she was a student here. Three years after she returned here as a teacher, she decided to become the advisor. She was in charge of taking students to the competition and assisting them with their projects. Owens feels that FCCLA plays an important role in the development of student leadership skills.

“FCCLA focuses on helping and guiding students to become leaders and productive students/members of society,” Owens said. “This is not your average club. FCCLA is fun, family focused, and prepares you for college/career world unlike any other club. You gain leadership experience, friends, professional skills, things to add to your resume/college applications, and many other things. Plus, traveling to Greensboro and the National Leadership Conference with your friends and peers isn’t a bad thing.”

Although placing first their category was a great achievement, the group agreed that the best part of the competition was the chance to go to California.