Mission College was a busy place to be on Feb. 18 during the Region 5 Spring Leadership Meeting and Region Qualifying Competition, an event of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA). (Region 5 covers the Bay Area and San Luis Obispo). A pirate-themed table setting bore netting, gold beads and of course, a big hand hook. Rose petals decorated a “Beauty and the Feast” table setting with a gold tablecloth in the same hue as Princess Belle’s trademark yellow ball gown. Faux pearls draped over the layered cakes featuring the “Roaring 20s.” A table filled with various breads recognized the versatility of yeast and flour. Clearly, the 60 plus students from the 13 schools competing here possessed creative talents.
“The purpose of spring meetings is for students to exhibit and show industry professionals their competitive projects and skills,” said Mindy Trisko, competitive recognition events coordinator for FCCLA Region 5. “They’ve been working on some of these projects for months. The spring meeting is a chance for many of these students to get industry feedback for the first time. Our overarching categories would be culinary arts, fashion design, interior design, hospitality and tourism and the last category would be child development.”
Some competing students came from local schools, including Wilcox High School, Santa Clara High School, Buchser Middle School and Peterson Middle School. Many participants from these Santa Clara schools placed high in a number of categories. Just ask Spencer Lepore, 15, a Santa Clara High School student who will be attending the state competition after his team nailed first place at the spring meeting in the category “Promote and Publicize.”
“We promoted what we’ve been doing to spread the name change of FCCLA from FHA-HERO (Future Homemakers of America- Home Economics Related Occupations) to FCCLA,” said Lepore. “We gave presentations. For example, we went to Buchser Middle School and gave a presentation there. And we did a breast cancer walk. Our advisor at Santa Clara High School, Ms. Kathy Hopp, is a breast cancer survivor. We also made banners and we waved them around with the new name. We got custom shirts. We made posters and we put the posters in the halls.”
At the meeting, Emma Nutter, 13, brought her culinary training from Buchser Middle School to the table and constructed a salad in 20 minutes.
“I made a cranberry orange spinach salad with a poppy seed dressing,” Nutter said. “I got fifth place so now I qualify for the state competition. Ms. Nancy Schlink, my culinary teacher, provides a positive environment. She makes sure everyone knows what they’re doing and feels comfortable. Whenever I learn a new recipe, I’ll go home to make it. It brings me joy to cook for my family.”
The event was made possible by Mariam Touni, 15, a Wilcox High School student and Region 5 president for FCCLA.
“I ran the meeting with my officer team; we put the whole spring meeting together,” Touni said. “Although [I didn’t compete] this weekend, I’ve competed before in seventh and eighth grade. I have been in FCCLA for four years. I went to Peterson Middle School where there was a culinary arts program. At Wilcox, I’m also involved in FCCLA. My specialty is in culinary arts but I like to try other things too, such as fashion design.”