The second floor of the Overman Student Center buzzed with activity on Wednesday as PSU hosted the FCCLA District STAR competition.
The top two competitors in each category at the District competition are eligible to move on to State, but since there are numerous categories and usually very few entries in each category, the Southeast FCCLA chapter has an additional criteria to represent the school at State: the entry must receive a Gold score.
Two Southeast teams of two students each earned that honor on Wednesday. Senior Shi Ann Crumpacker and junior Alaina Martinie earned a Gold in Food Innovations with a chocolate and peanut butter protein bar they created; and, freshmen Miranda Hartman and McKenna Renn earned a Gold in Life Event Planning for a graduation party they planned.
“There are a bunch of different areas, different categories,” Southeast FCCLA chapter sponsor Sonora Jones said. “There’s something specific for everyone and I think they like the competition aspect of it – wanting to show our school is good and that we are doing good things.”
Competitors hit the ground running following a brief opening ceremony. Sponsors, like Mrs. Jones split from their students to go judge. The students were sequestered in the Sunflower Room, each waiting for their turn to compete.
Throughout the morning, one by one, competitors carried their presentation materials out of the congregation room to the various judges rooms spread throughout the floor.
When it was his turn, Southeast junior Brody Tickel, in his first year with FCCLA, scrambled between the rooms, quickly working to prepare a children’s play/work station he built along with his presentation board. He only has 5 minutes to set up and it goes by fast. Once ready, he stands nervously outside the judge’s room waiting to be called back in.
Alaina and Shi Ann return from their own presentation, and go back into the Sunflower Room where students from area school districts are reviewing their materials, talking and laughing as they patiently wait their turns.
It’s a day of waiting, hurrying, then waiting again for all of the students competing, and they know it’s going to be a long morning.
Finally, the door opens and the judges invite Brody in to discuss his entry. A few minutes later he leaves the room with a big smile on his face, relieved to be done.
It becomes a routine for all of the competitors: wait in the congregation room, go present to judges, bring materials back to congregation room, and since they have a short break before their next category if they have one, they leave to get a snack and stretch their legs a bit before returning to the congregation room to wait again.
It’s like clockwork.
The common area outside of the congregation room is mostly quiet and makes for a nice out of the way area for PSU students to study or relax between their own classes. Two of these PSU students are brothers Cameron and Colton Paasch, Southeast Class of 2016. Fellow graduate Adam Martinie shows up a short time later. Their time in the common area is, by far, the noisiest part of the whole day.
Finally, all of the competitors are done. They trickle out into the lounge area and wait yet again as results are tabulated.
Mrs. Jones talks with her students, asking how they did. Juniors Savana Bennett and Daisy Burns laugh about a joke they used in their presentation.
Looking out the window, somebody notices a PSU student with a service dog is walking across the oval.
“Aw, look at the puppy!”
It’s a nice distraction from what has been a long and stressful morning.
Other Southeast honors from the District competition: Sophomores Katura Amershek and Norma Tavernaro took Silver in Illustrated Talk; juniors Savana Bennett and Daisy Burns took Silver in Hospitality,Tourism and Recreation; and, junior Brody Tickel – Silver in Recycle and Redesign.
In addition to Mrs. Jones, the chapter must provide two additional judges at State. Bennett and Burns will join Mrs. Jones at State as judges since they had the next highest score.