‘ULTIMATE JOURNEY’: Fallin students win contests in FCCLA

Published 2:58 pm Thursday, December 21, 2023

NATCHEZ — There were 48 chapters from Mississippi at a Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) competition in Birmingham, Alabama, last month, but Natchez’s chapter earned the most votes of all in support of the group’s lapel pin design for the state.

This Mississippi pin design created by Fallin Career & Technology Center students was picked out of all the designs in the state’s 48 FCCLA chapters. (Submitted)

Each chapter was asked to design a pin fitting the FCCLA theme “The Ultimate Journey.”

Fallin Career & Technology Center students from Natchez won with a design that represented one of their favorite local events, the Natchez Balloon Festival, which “brings people on a journey from all over the country” to their home city to watch it, said Taylyn Davis, 12th-grade FCCLA member.

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Their pin pictures the Mississippi River bridge and hot air balloons flying over in colors of red, white, black and gold.

Each concept of the pin represents a journey, the bridge, hot-air-balloons, and then the river itself.

“The design inspiration came from the river,” Alexceya Hanes, 11th-grade FCCLA member, said. “You know how the river is constantly flowing.”

“And the bridge links communities,” added Davis. “The balloons represent rising higher —”

“Above adversity,” added Hanes.

Sanita Gutter’s class at Fallin Career & Technology Center, which comprises the entire FCCLA chapter of approximately 20 students, came up with the design together.

All of the Mississippi chapters voted for their favorite design.

“We each had competitions that we participated in and it was really fun,” Hanes said. “We met new people from all over.”

Other areas of competition included hands on activities and oral presentations.

“I participated in ‘Toys that Teach,’” Davis said. Using household items, she crafted a sensory toy for younger children based on their age and developmental level.

“With the rubric, we had to explain what the toy was, how we made it, what materials we used. I was iffy at first but it all came together.”

Some competition areas started at home with an online test.

Kalle Martin, a 9th-grader in the Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America club, placed first nationally in the food sciences area of the FCCLA competition. (Sabrina Robertson | The Natchez Democrat)

Hanes and Kalle Martin, a 9th-grader, were tested on food science and Martin placed first nationally.

“I was shocked,” Martin said of learning that she’d placed first. She couldn’t recall exactly what questions were on the test but said that it wasn’t hard.

Martin, the daughter of Kiersten Jackson enjoys making TikTok videos and dancing and is interested in becoming a nurse, “because I like helping people.”

She takes inspiration from her grandmother, Monica Anderson, who confides in her about her struggles to encourage her. “When things take her down, she keeps going.”

Because she won, Martin qualifies to travel to another competition in Seattle, Washington, next summer.