“It ended up really awesome,” Hiebert said about the outfit. “I found a way that I can make something else in the future if I needed to make a cute, little dress.”
That “Recycle and Redesign” project earned Hiebert a gold medal at last month’s Family, Career and Community Leaders of America national conference in Orlando, Fla.
Along with Hiebert placing gold, Kara Schmucker and Nicki Bartel earned silver medals at the national conference. Tia Goertzen, a national gold medal winner last year, served as a judge for one of the Students Taking Action with Recognition, or STAR, events.
Twenty students made up the FCCLA chapter at GHS, Bergin said. Twelve competed at the district level, with eight going on to compete at state. Of those, Hiebert, Schmucker and Bartel qualified for nationals.
As FCCLA adviser, Bergin supervises and guides her students toward projects that make a good fit with their interests and abilities.
Students start their projects in October and November.
“Then they should work on them pretty constantly until February,” Bergin said. “And that’s when the district contest is.”
Kansas has 12 FCCLA districts, with Goessel’s district having competed at Marion. Top scorers in each STAR category from each district go on to state competition, which was held in April at Wichita.
“At state, there are some events that take two students to nationals and some take one,” she said. “So the top one or two from state go to nationals.”
In preparing for competition, Bergin plans “STARs at Work” nights, so students can focus on their projects, and she’s available to give input.
Being at a small school requires a lot of flexibility in scheduling those times.
“We have to work around the play, basketball games, the volleyball games, FFA and everything else,” Bergin said, so she scheduled the work sessions for Saturdays or in the evenings.
Bergin said she also helps students figure out what they need to do to earn full points for the different criteria based on STAR event rubrics.
Also, she and her students take a day trip to Wichita to purchase “poster board, markers, stickers, tri-fold boards, whatever kind of cardstock they want or pictures for their presentations,” Bergin said.
Each student must prepare a speech for the public presentation of their project before judges. Bergin collaborates with them using Google Docs, which allows users to edit online documents.
“I can see their speech progress, and then I can write comments, too, to say if I think you need to edit this or we need to work on this,” she said. “And they practice and I give them feedback on how they’re doing.”
Students have the option of choosing either a display or portfolio to present their projects.
For her display, Hiebert used a trifold board she titled “From the Back of the Closet to the Top of the Chart.”
“I had a picture on my board where I was wearing the dress,” she said. She also hung her dress on a mannequin that stood beside the display.
In her oral presentation, Hiebert described the research she had done for her project.
“I had to give some facts about the recycling and redesigning, especially of textiles, and how many were thrown away and not reused and recycled,” she said. “I had to go through exactly how I made the dress and say how this is going to affect me in the future.”
Both Schmucker and Bartel chose to compile a portfolio to present their projects.
Bartel’s project investigated the career of accounting.
“That kind of led me to what I want to do in college,” said Bartel, 18, who plans to attend Wichita State University in fall.
She researched accounting and conducted personal interviews of those working in the field.
In addition, Bartel completed a career assessment. The results affirmed her interest and fit in areas of business.
“It kind of surprised me that I scored well in the finance area and, I think, business administration,” she said. “I didn’t know I would do that well.”
A?GHS junior in fall, Schmucker, 16, chose a “Teach and Train” project.
“I went to the kindergarten classroom here at Goessel,” Schmucker said. “First, I observed them for an afternoon to see how the class was.
Then she met with teacher Sheri Janzen to ask questions.
“I decided on a lesson I was going to teach to them,” Schmucker said. “I taught them about the weather and the proper clothes to wear in that season.
“I had them take a paper doll and put her in the right clothes in the right season. I had different backgrounds set up to have them put her in.”
Schmucker also gathered information about the career of teaching.
“I also did a lot of research about what’s needed to become a teacher,” she said. “That was really helpful.”
Fundraising projects helped the FCCLA chapter finance the trip Orlando.
“This year we did an enchilada fundraiser again where we made over 2,000 enchiladas and sold those,” Bergin said. “People could buy those and raise money for our trip.
“We are also really lucky that our school board supports our trip a lot and gives us money for that.”
Schmucker sums up the appreciation students have for Bergin’s leadership.
“She answers a lot of questions, like if we’re not quite sure because we’re a little new to the whole STAR event thing and each project has a different outline you have to follow,” Schmucker said.
“She’s really knowledgeable about what we’re supposed to do. She prepares us really well for everything.”