With minutes to spare, Wilcox High School senior Marissa Pinero, completed her meal. She plated tenderloin kabobs with maple coriander glaze, chipotle mashed potatoes and Cappuccino mousse in house made chocolate cups and waited for time to expire as her competitors scrambled to complete the final details on their dishes.
For Pinero, it had been quite an hour at the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) 2001 National Leadership Conference. Typically the Students Taking Action with Recognition (STAR) Events Culinary Arts competition is completed as a team event with the top three Culinary Arts students in the state matched up, but Pinero’s teammates were absent. Unlike the other competitors, Pinero was a team of one, who pushed past the obstacles and still managed to finish.
“I learned that it is important to train and believe in yourself, because, then, no matter the situation you walk into at the actual competition you can do your best,” said Pinero, who ended up taking home a silver medal for her work. “I am also very excited that the judges [representatives from the top culinary schools in the country] were pleased with product and process. I would love to go to culinary school!”
The Culinary Arts competition, which as well has 27 additional national STAR Events available to FCCLA students, was held at the Anaheim Convention Center last month. Approximately 3,500 students advanced from the regional and state levels to compete at the national meeting.
The STAR Events are based on the belief that every student is a winner. Competition, evaluation, and recognition all stress cooperation as the basis of success. Both youth and adults work together to manage the events and serve as evaluators of the participants. Throughout the year, FCCLA members tackle issues such as teen violence prevention, traffic safety, family issues, and career exploration. FCCLA programs and competitions enrich student learning, improve self-esteem, and serve students with a range of ability levels, economic situations, and cultural influences.
FCCLA is the only career and technical in-school student organization with family as its central focus. Currently, FCCLA has over 190,000 members and over 6,500 chapters from the United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Island. Since its founding in 1945, the organization has helped more than ten million youth become leaders and address important personal family, work and societal issues through Family and Consumer Sciences education. For additional information on FCCLA and STAR Events visit www.fcclainc.org.