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FCCLA state convention garners national qualifiers


It was a circus-themed event for the FCCLA State convention this year. On Wednesday afternoon, 37 local members headed to Dallas to compete and volunteer at the event.

National Programs in Action Junior and Senior competed on Thursday. The groups prepared themselves for their competition, worked on last-minute preparations and practiced their speeches.

“I was really nervous but glad to get it over with and not stress out about it,” freshman Sherlynn Rodriguez said. “My teammates and I practiced over and over until we got the hang of it.”

The rest of the members who weren’t competing; they had a whole different schedule to go by. They were room consultants and worked as timekeepers, runners or door monitors to help the events run smoothly.  

“Being able to see what other events offer is a real eye-opener to see what other events I can do the following years,” sophomore Jorge Palafox said. “Also I saw how other people memorized the speeches, and how I can improve mine.”

The members were constantly running place to place at the Dallas Convention Center, from the 37th floor in the Sheraton Hotel to the lobby.

“It was honestly tiring because I was running back and forth from where the event was held in heels,” senior Mykayla Dennix said. “I had to wait until the event was done to eat, but it was worth it.”

By being room consultants in various events, from a focus on children to helping a chef, the members got a sense behind the scenes of what the judges do and say before, during and after a team’s presentation.  

“I learned that we almost lost ten points since my team didn’t have a physical copy of our portfolios and that the judges look for grammar, spelling and punctuation errors,” sophomore Scarlet Carrillo said. “I learned what the judges like to see and how to interact with them.”

The rest of the teams did not compete until Friday.

“I was very anxious because my team and I were competing against 24 teams and there is just a lot of pressure,” sophomore Dayani Compean said. “Thursday was a distraction because first I saw other teams compete, and second I made a friend and talked about FCCLA.”

On Friday, the rest of the teams competed. Some events did not finish until 5:00 p.m. and so the participants had time to rest, relax and eat while they waited for the general session.

“My team and I practiced in the morning and then hung out in the food court until it was our time to compete,” freshman Emma Adams said. “We were nervous about competing in the afternoon because we were afraid that the judges wouldn’t remember us.”

The general session consisted of a keynote speaker and former NFL player, Trent Shelton.

“I was so excited when I found out that Trent Shelton was speaking at the general session,” junior Itzy Velazquez said. “I’ve watched all his videos and speeches and have followed his journey as a speaker. ”

In attendance were ten teams with half of them placing top five. Food Innovations Jr. 5th-Emma Adams, Omar Almeida, Saloni Jariwala, National Programs in Action Jr. 3rd-April Martinez, Jazlynn Early, Sherlynn Rodriguez, Chapter in Review 3rd-Jenifer Dominguez, Sonia Martinez, Itzy Velazquez.

“It was a great honor and it was really unexpected but it was a great experience,” Dominguez said. “I was surprised and didn’t think we would make it that far.”

Three teams advanced to Nationals: Food Innovations 1st- Dayani Compean, Marlene Diaz, Jenny Dominguez, Sports Nutrition 2nd- Jorge Castro, Logan Skelton, Ashley White, and Environmental Ambassador 1st- Kaline Martinez, Scarlet Carillo, Jorge Palafox.  Nationals will be held in Anaheim, CA from June 29th to July 5th.

“I’m pretty sure it’s the first time in Buffalo FCCLA to have three teams qualify for Nationals,” advisor Melissa Isaacs said. “The hardest thing to do is place first or second at state and Environmental Ambassador team got a perfect score.”

Sophomore Callie Harter was elected State Vice President of Service Learning and will be a Voting Delegate at the National Conference.

“I was scared at first since the interview wasn’t what I expected until I got the position that I wanted,” Harter said. “I’m proud of all my accomplishments in FCCLA.”