Madison Rash has been busy lately making sure others know about the organization she’s come to appreciate over the past couple years.
Since the fall, she’s made and passed out fliers, voiced announcements over the Zebulon Middle School intercom, met with business leaders and even gained the support of the town’s mayor – all on top of the responsibilities regularly expected of a seventh-grader.
Rash is one of several students in Zebulon Middle School’s chapter of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, a national career and technical group for school-age students in family and consumer sciences. They are currently putting the finishing touches on projects they will present for competitions at the organization’s state conference, set for April 11-13 in Greensboro.
The school’s club is only in its second year, but is already succeeding in teaching its members leadership and life skills for home and the workplace.
“They find their project – and I may steer and guide and direct them, but that’s it – and they take off with it,” said club advisor and ZMS career and technical education teacher Barnanne Creech. “The environment this fosters is to take leadership and ownership of what you’re learning and apply it to real life applications. This has definitely been successful.”
Spreading the word
Projects for FCCLA cover an array of youth-geared topics, including career exploration, the environment, family relationships, nutrition, peer pressure and teen violence.
The Zebulon club members are taking on six projects for the state conference, with categories including Focus on Children (a study of elementary education), Food Innovations, Entrepreneurship, Sports Nutrition, and Illustrated Talk – weighing in on current issues in family and consumer sciences.
Rash on Thursday was working to complete an eight-part document, among other required elements, for her entry in the Promote and Publicize competition. That category demands communication skills and calls for a considerable amount of effort to educate the public on the organization’s mission.
She advertised the club over the school speakers during FCCLA week (Feb. 7-13), resulting in several phone calls from people interested in learning more about the nonprofit group. She also got Zebulon Mayor Bob Matheny to sign a resolution officially recognizing FCCLA week in town. He also dropped by for a visit with the club in February.
Learning to lead
After presenting her project to a three-judge panel made up of FCCLA advisors from across the state, Rash will also be subjected to a timed, 10-minute test of her ability to demonstrate sound communication skills. She appears up to the task.
“I thought Promote and Publicize would be a little harder to do and a little more of a challenge for me,” Rash said. “FCCLA is about people going out and making themselves. People nowadays seem to follow other people. If they don’t have their own opinions, they’re not going to do as good at leading when they are older.”
Winners of competitions at the state level will earn the opportunity to attend and compete in the national FCCLA convention in California in July.
Rash said she didn’t have her own opinions when she joined the ZMS club last year. Things have changed since then, things that she says are good for her character.
“The project for me, it has gotten me out to talk to different people about FCCLA and different things,” she said. “Before, I wouldn’t see myself going out and talking to students I don’t know because that’s not myself and what I’m used to doing, and I definitely wouldn’t see myself going out to a shopping center and talking to business representatives. It’s opened up my mindset of the world and the different people who can make a difference in something.”