By Jennifer Buffaloe-Parker, NBCT, FCCLA Adviser
This year marked a new and exciting venture as I took a brand new group of students to our State Conference for FCCLA (Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America). I have been attending these conferences yearly for the past ten years. This marked the first time that I had a group that was excited about actually competing in competitive events and wanting to win. This group wanted more. They had a spark of excitement and fear.
As they prepared, in the weeks that led up to state conference, we spent many hours after school helping each other understand what needed to be done for each project. We ended up with three strong groups and three strong projects. I was proud of my students and they were proud of themselves. They practiced and changed things daily.
I could see that they were all getting anxious. I tried to continue to provide a strong front for them, even though deep inside, I was a nervous wreck. It seemed like in no time at all. I sent them all to compete and in no time at all they were back sharing their experiences with me and each other. Now the hard part was to wait until the next day for our results.
Finally the last day was upon us and I sent my three groups into the contestant lineup to receive their awards. As my groups came to the stage I almost screamed with pride when their names were announced and they got to walk across the stage and receive their bronze medals. Five students and five bronze medals! I was about to bust with pride and I was so proud of my students for their accomplishments. Finally my last contestant was approaching the stage and I could barely contain myself when her name was called as the gold medal winner and the representative for our state to the National Leadership Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, in July. We were all so excited. We had come to compete and we had conquered them all!
As we were driving home, my students said to me that they had a great time. They all wanted to continue in FCCLA and my classes and compete again. This gave me such a great sense of pride and accomplishment as a teacher. I became a teacher to make a difference in the lives of young people and today I realized that I had a made a difference in the lives of these six teenagers! I had made a difference and I want to continue to do so for many more years! Do nott be afraid as an adviser to take a chance on doing something new.
Do you have stories like this one? They really encourage other teachers to have their students compete!