MCMS FCCLA students enjoy success at state conference

By Theo Tate
Posted 4/11/24

Before classes began in August, Montgomery County Middle School was looking for someone to lead its Family, Career and Community Leaders of America chapter.

So Jan Hankinson decided to come out …

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MCMS FCCLA students enjoy success at state conference


Before classes began in August, Montgomery County Middle School was looking for someone to lead its Family, Career and Community Leaders of America chapter.

So Jan Hankinson decided to come out of retirement to take over the job.

“When the teacher left, they didn’t have a replacement and they were going to shut the program down,” Hankinson said. “I worked too hard building this program up over the years.”

It turned out to be a good decision for Hankinson. Her FCCLA group turned in an outstanding showing at the State Leadership Conference on March 17-19 at the Tan-Tar-A Resort in Osage Beach, having 16 members earn medals for their projects.

Sixth graders Julia Elder, Chloe and Jayden Conder, Brady Falloon, Ethan Hogue, Lydia Zerr, Alaina Spurgeon and Bella Nichols, seventh graders Grayson Dunlap, Addison Cannon, Anna Johnson, Paislee Clark, Aurora Gibson and Alyssa Davis and eighth graders Ryleigh Moore and Cohen Beattie were the medal winners. The group had six first-place finishes and three second-place finishes at the state conference.

“I think it’s very great that we can show leadership at our school,” Chloe Conder said.

The MCMS FCCLA also qualified 14 members to the National Leadership Conference, which is scheduled for June 29-July 3 in Seattle, Wash. Seven of those members – Brady, Lydia, Alaina, Anna, Cohen, Aurora and Alyssa – are making the trip out west.

The chapter will be holding fundraisers – such as holding trivia night and catering meals for MCMS staff members – within the next two months to help the seven members go to Seattle. It will cost $1,700 for each member to go to Washington, equating to $11,900.

“Trying to raise that much money for that many people is going to be overwhelming,” Hankinson said. “We have only a couple of months to get it raised.”

Hankinson, who received a chapter adviser recognition award at the state conference, is working in her second – and final stint – as FCCLA adviser as she plans to retire again after the school year ends. She worked at MCMS for eight years before retiring in 2019.

Hankinson has been successful in her nine years as FCCLA adviser. The chapter received many awards during her tenure. A new shelf was built to make room for this year’s awards.

Hankinson credits her students for her success.

“You see such potential in these kids and it’s great to see them be successful,” she said. “They go above and beyond. They learn to care for others. They learn to step up and be leaders, so you take a little sixth-grader and transform them into this person walking with self-confidence who can make a difference and is passionate about others.”

Aurora and Alyssa qualified for nationals by placing first in their food innovations project in which they developed a high fiber, low-carb snack called Strawberry Chocolate Fiberlicious Bars. Aurora accepted the award at the conference.

“I thought it was exciting when I got the call that we got first,” Alyssa said. “I was sick at home. I went home a day early because I got an ear infection and the flu.”

“Walking across the stage by myself wasn’t the funnest thing, but it was very rewarding after we knew that we did so good in our category,” Aurora said. “We did really good.”

Julia and the Conder siblings placed first for their chapter service display project called Healthy Skin Is In, which focused on melanoma and skin cancer awareness.

“I really enjoy it,” Julia said. “It motivates me for next year. It just makes me want to do it more.”

Ryleigh, Brady and Ethan came in first for their event management project. They held a Pink Out Week at MCMS in December.

“I thought it was awesome,” Brady said. “At first, I felt like we were going to lose. I was not ready for it. We were standing on stage and I was shaking. And we won.”

Paislee won first place for her Towards New Horizons project in which she developed a presentation display on her personal growth and leadership experiences in FACS and FCCLA.

“I had so much fun on the trip,” Paislee said. “It was a great experience. I really enjoyed the project and I recommend being a part of FCCLA.”

Grayson placed first for his chapter service portfolio project, which was a food drive he held at MCMS for needy families in Montgomery County.

Anna came in first place for her Repurpose and Redesign project in which she turned used sheets into Pack ‘N Play sheets that were donated to Birthright to be handed out to parents in need. She also won the Middle School Leaders to Watch contest and received her own FCCLA red blazer.

Alaina, Bella and Lydia finished second in their focus of children project. They taught preschool students about the four seasons of the year.

Addison finished second in her national programs in action project. She made presentations to Montgomery City and Jonesburg elementary schools about personal hygiene.

Cohen placed second in professional presentation for his $10 meal challenge.

“You have to budget your money to save money for the future and feed four people in your family,” Cohen said. “You have to have fruits, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy. It was pretty cool that I got to do it for $10.”

The MCMS FCCLA won chapter awards in financial fitness, community service and student body. MCMS principal Kala Buck was named the FCCLA Administrator of the Year.


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