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Crockett FCCLA students headed to Orlando for nationals

By Michael Baker, Staff Writer
This is the last year that David Crockett High School teacher Mary Southerland will be taking a group of students to compete nationally.
Southerland is the Family Career Community Leaders of America instructor at Crockett. She retired at the end of the school year.
Every year, Southerland has prepared her students to compete in regional competitions with aspirations of the students earning the right to compete nationally.
This year, students Hayley Kellet, Tiffany Ryan, Katie Whitaker, DeAnna Owens, and Ashlynn Rogers have all earned that right and are ready to compete in the national competition in Orlando later this summer.
Kellet, Ryan, and Whitaker received first place in the state FCCLA National Programs in Action for their combined work with fighting childhood obesity.
The young ladies wanted to do their project on childhood obesity when they discovered Tennessee is nearly leading the nation with this epidemic.
Once they decided to tackle childhood obesity, they sought the help registered dietitian Jessica Gourley, who works with the Food City corporation.
Together, the team decided on the theme, “What’s on Your Plate?”
With the theme in place, it was up to the students to make a display board with all of the information required by the FCCLA competition.
At the district and state competition, the trio had to present the board to a panel of judges. They won first place both times.
Owens and Rogers are also going to compete nationally, but for a different project.
They will be competing in the Community Service Project, concentrating on homelessness.
The pair decided to do the project after talking with Southerland as well as the members of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
They knew that homelessness was a problem in our area, and with local shelters surpassing capacity at times many individuals were left outside in the cold.
The team got classmates on board to help make more than 50 blankets, which they delivered in person to the shelters.
The personal delivery offered a chance for the students to see first hand what homeless individuals had to go through on a nightly basis.
Once they made the blankets and learned from their experiences, Owens and Rogers had to document their work in an FCCLA manual.
Everything had to be put in the manual from letters from the visit with the WCSO to photos of the students completing the project.
They took their manual to the regional competition where they won first place.
At state they came up short, but still managed to take second place. Their success earned them the chance to compete in Orlando at the national competition.
Southerland and her five students will be making their trip to Orlando next month. They are still fundraising for the trip. If you would like to help send these state champions to the national competition, call 753-1150.