East Mont group has sights on Orlando
By Pat Brown
Five girls at Eastern Montgomery High School are preparing to compete as one of the top six teams in the nation in the field of Family and Consumer Science.
Their knowledge and skills have earned them a chance at a national title when they travel to compete in Orlando this summer. That is the site of the National Leadership Conference for Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA).
They won the opportunity to go to the national event by placing second in regional competition in Atlanta where they made their teacher proud.
“They went head-to-head against 14 other teams,” Kim Mills said. “They had to buzz in with the quickest answers. For a little school to produce kids this smart, that’s awesome.”
The five girls, all juniors, have taken one, two or three Family and Consumer Science classes that Mills teaches. To compete in Atlanta they had to take a test, know their textbooks and study additional materials. The pressure will be even greater as they set their sights on Orlando.
While they prepare for competition, they are also balancing their other class work, performing after-school jobs and playing on Eastern Montgomery sports teams.
These days they have added another task: fundraising to be able to finance their Orlando trip.
Why are they working so hard?
“It’s Disney World. It’s fun,” said Demi Standifur. She has three part-time jobs to balance and will compete in the interior design and fashion events at the national contest.
“We know that we’re beasts and we’re going to have fun with it,” joked Leisa Whitt, FCCLA president.
“We [FCCLA competitors] tell each other all the time, ‘Don’t be nervous,’” Whitt said. Her club’s competitions are teaching her how to be a leader, she said, adding that she wants to be a probation officer when she grows up.
“I love to compete,” said Holly Moses. “It’s so much fun to meet new people at the events, and I love to achieve things I’ve set my mind to.”
Moses will be competing with her knowledge of nutrition. “Learning everything about food, what’s in it, what’s good and bad, makes me want to eat healthier,” she said.
Moses works at the local Adventure Club, a child care service. “I like money,” she declared, explaining why she is leaning toward a future accounting career.
Kayla Wikstrom is vice president of FCCLA. She will compete in the tourism and hospitality area. These days she works for McDonalds, and she plans to be an oncology nurse someday.
Kirsten Dowdy is secretary of the Eastern Montgomery’s FCCLA. She is preparing to compete in the child development contest. That supports her plans for the future, as she wants to be a child psychologist. On weekends she also works at McDonalds.
The girls can rattle off a long list of fund raisers they are conducting.
Working with other clubs, they earned a percentage of the profit for a bowling night. They set up a booth at another club’s fund raiser, sold doughnuts at a big box store, and earned a percentage on a night at an ice cream parlor.
“We want to have most of the money by May,” said Dowdy.
On April 30 they will hold a drawing where someone will win a sofa donated by Rowe Furniture.
They are holding car washes when weather permits and Kirsten is selling snacks at home softball games.
In the meantime, Mills, who enjoys crafts, has contributed a number of her creations to help the students with fund raising. She uses wrapped candy and miniature candy bars to form treats shaped like cakes and ice cream desserts.
These five young women may be from a small school, but they exhibit plenty of motivation.
Whitt will compete in general knowledge of the 10 subject areas covered in the Family and Consumer Science curriculum. “This event has broadened the challenge for me. It has pushed me to study more and push myself to win at competition,” she said.
“They are a great bunch,” Mills said, “and smart.”