Michael Griffin, Avery Young, Brooke Robinson, Taylor Anderson and Sierra Adams attended the event, which was hosted by FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America). Tammy Cassell, teacher and FCCLA adviser at Rye Cove, said it was the first time most of the students had ever been on a plane or seen the Pacific Ocean.
While there, three of the students also took top honors in the competition portion of the event. Anderson and Adams placed fifth in the environmental ambassador junior competition, while Griffin placed second in senior entrepreneurship.
Getting to nationals
Each year, FCCLA members have an opportunity to compete in a variety of business- and career-related events, including early childhood education, fashion design and job interview. Cassell said about 20 of her students took part in the state competition in Virginia Beach in the spring, where Griffin finished second and Anderson and Adams finished first.
Afterward, five of the students began preparing for the national conference. Griffin, Anderson and Adams competed at the event, while Young and Robinson attended for the leadership training.
The students arrived in California on June 29 and left July 6, Cassell said. In addition to participating in the leadership training and competition, the group visited Disney, Santa Monica Beach, Hollywood, In-N-Out Burger and other tourist sites for the first time.
At the competition, Anderson and Adams — both sophomores — won fifth place for their environmental ambassador project, which focused on recycling. As part of the project, the girls did recycling presentations at Rye Cove Intermediate School, made a recycling display, oversaw community surveys and compiled research on the benefits of recycling.
“We learned a lot about how we can recycle and more common objects that we didn’t know about that we could recycle,” Adams said. “So now, it’s easier for both of us to find things that we can have recycled and reused.”
Griffin, a 2019 graduate, finished second in the entrepreneurship category with a business plan he created for a fictional café and arcade, called M&M’s Café and Fun Zone. For the project, Griffin spent six months compiling a supplies list, a financial report, an advertising plan and other documents needed to start a business.
“Entrepreneurship is actually what I’m going to be studying in college,” Griffin said, “so this was a really good opportunity for me to learn about what I’m going into and mainly see if I would even enjoy it.”
All five students learned valuable leadership skills at the event, Cassell said. Young went to train for the national competition next year, while Robinson went to prepare for her future goal of running for a state FCCLA office.
“FCCLA definitely helps you come out of your shell and really develop as you get older,” Robinson said. “It really opens you up and it gives you that motivation and confidence to speak your mind.”