Soett-Luz Torres, a senior at Leesville Road high school, is an active Family Career Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) member. Since her sophomore year, Torres has competed in Students Taking Active Recognition, or STAR events. STAR events are competitive events in which members are recognized for proficiency and achievement in chapter and individual projects, leadership skills, and career preparation. The competitive events are on the local, state, and national level.
The district, state, and national conferences are focused on family consumer sciences and are designed to develop leadership skills, network, and interact with businesses and colleges/universities. Participants are expected to act as they would in a formal business setting.
“There’s so many different events you can express your abilities in,” said Torres. Some of the events are Food Innovations, Fashion Construction, Hospitality and Tourism, Interior Design, and Entrepreneurship.
For most competitive events, members present their portfolio/website/trifold in front of 2-3 judges and a room consultant. Following the presentation, students participating in certain categories are given a case study. There is no actual way to prepare for the case study because participants aren’t given it beforehand.
Torres has competed in the Interpersonal Communications competitive event twice. Her first year competing, her project focused on how to communicate well in a business setting. Soett-Luz collaborated with the Apparel II Honors class at Leesville to better improve their communication. After earning gold at the state conference, she was eligible to attend the National FCCLA conference in San Antonio, Texas.
Soett-Luz’s junior year, she continued to compete in Interpersonal Communications and yet again, was successful. However, that year she focused her project on communication through social media and presented to a class at Leesville. After earning silver at the state conference, she was eligible to attend the national conference in Washington, D.C.
Senior year she changed it up and competed in the event category ‘Leadership’ focusing it on her leadership activities within her job, sports medicine, and FCCLA.
“I learned to become a better public speaker and have more confidence. I chose to compete in STAR events because I needed a great way to branch out and stand out from others in my class,” said Torres
Wake County will pay for transportation to the designated National conference location, which changes every year, for students who place in first or second in their category. Nationals is essentially the same as states but at a much larger scale for almost a week. Nearly 10,000 people attend the national conference and members travel from all 50 states. Some even say that no one can really understand what FCCLA is until you see what goes on at nationals.
This year the national FCCLA conference will be held at San Diego, California July 3-7. Torres will be representing not only Leesville Road High School, but also North Carolina at the conference.