Submitted/ The Outlook Horseshoe Bend School's Family, Career and Community Leaders of America won the Focus on Alabama Award and Golden Chapter Award at the FCCLA state convention last week. Pictured, front row from left to right, are Hannah Ledbetter, Sydney Kelly, Abby Hadaway, Sara Jacobs, Beth Ann Conway and Taylor Brown; back row, Henely Brown, Braylei Smith, Jenna Bowen, Haley Peterson, Erin Cox and Kaylee Lashley.

Horseshoe Bend’s Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) took home plenty of medals on the national stage last week at the FCCLA conference.

FCCLA students Jenna Bowen, Henley Brown, Taylor Brown, Beth Ann Conway, Erin Cox, Abby Hadaway, Sara Jacobs, Sydney Kelly, Kaylee Lashley, Hannah Ledbetter, Haley Peterson and Braylei Smith competed at the conference and event last Thursday and Friday in Montgomery. 

Advisor Felicia Williams said she is proud of her students’ hard work which resulted in 16 awards. 

“Some of them stepped out of their comfort zone because they’re not used to speaking in front of strangers,” Williams said. “They have invested extra time, and they didn’t have to; they chose to. I’m very proud of the hard work they’ve done. It’s a lot of work. They stay after school working on this.”

Both individuals and teams presented to judges on a variety of topics including the club’s activities, suicide awareness and autism, Williams said.

Jacobs and Taylor Brown qualified for the national convention, which will be held July 3 in Washington. Students must place in the top two and receive a 70 score to move on to nationals. 

Both received silver medals for their presentations on the group’s projects and suicide awareness, respectively. 

Brown won silver after individually presented a 42-slide PowerPoint on the club’s activities and included all its newspaper and TV coverage. Jacobs took second place in her category for her presentation on suicide awareness.

The club is fundraising for Jacobs and Brown to pay the $1,400 fee for the national convention. The FCCLA is selling plants including geraniums, petunias and ferns for $14 each and Williams is promoting it through the school’s FCCLA social media.

Students also took two gold, five silver and five bronze medals in presentations. Brown, Conway, Emily Gillum, Jacobs and Kelly were also honored for completing the Power of One program, which is a five-part, goal-to-results program. The students set their own goals and work on improving personal traits, getting long with family, exploring work options, developing leadership qualities and recruiting others into FCCLA.

The school also earned three team state awards, which were the Golden Chapter award, the Focus on Alabama Award, Prescription for Healthy Living and the Champions Chapter award.

The Golden Chapter award was given for the year’s work, including the Iron Bowl canned food drive project with HBS’ Future Farmers of America and the annual Pink and Teal Fashion Show. 

The Focus on Alabama Award was given for the canned food drive.

The Prescription for Healthy Living was for its work with Tallapoosa’s Caring Reaching Everyday Fighters Utilizing God’s Embrace (REFUGE) Walking for Warriors Walk because the group donated its fashion show proceeds to it. 

The Champions Chapter was given to the club for most increased participation as Horseshoe Bend’s club grew by 20 members this year. Williams said this was one of only two schools to win both the Golden and Champions chapter awards.

Williams attributes the increased enrollment to a Harry Potter theme for its open house, registration and some events this year. 

“When (members) paid their fees for the club they got a letter saying they got accepted and a wand and a broom pen,” Williams said. “They loved every minute of it. That was some of our promotion techniques and our students enjoyed it.”

Kelly, who served as state vice president of programs, finished her term from her position at the conference.

“She did an awesome job representing us as a state officer and I can’t tell you how much class and persistence she showed as a state officer,” Williams said. “I was very, very proud of her.”