Students shone in STAR

August 24, 2000

Students shone in STAR


HANCOCK - Four Hancock Middle-Senior High School students won national awards this summer at the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) conference.

The students were Maryland's only representatives in the STAR - Students Taking Action with Recognition - competition in Orlando, Fla.

Sophomore Heidi Weller and Junior Chelsea Unger, both 15, took home gold medals in the chapter service project category with their presentation about Hancock FCCLA's "Give a Heart" campaign, they said.

Senior Ashley McCusker and 2000 graduate Amanda True won bronze medals in the chapter showcase category with their presentation of the group's total workload for the year, they said.

FCCLA is a national student organization that helps young people become leaders, and addresses important personal, family, work and societal issues through family and consumer sciences education, according to the FCCLA Web site.


Through chapter projects, FCCLA gives members the chance to expand their leadership potential and develop such life skills as planning, goal setting, problem solving, decision making and interpersonal communication, according to the Web site.

"You get to work with everybody," said Amanda. "It's a great experience."

Heidi and Chelsea, both 15, said their FCCLA membership has taught them the importance of cooperation and careful planning, and those skills paid off in Florida when judges awarded them first prize for their explanation of the Hancock FCCLA's American Heart Association fund-raising effort.

The girls had under seven minutes to explain the project's planning process, financial tracking methods and community involvement, they said.

Winning "was kind of a big shock," Chelsea said.

Amanda, 18, and Ashley, 17, said other FCCLA chapters completed more projects than their group, so they were pleased to take home third place.

In addition to the "Give a Heart" campaign, the Hancock chapter raised awareness about breast cancer by distributing pamphlets and pink ribbons, and worked throughout the year with elementary school children, the girls said.

The elementary school experience was invaluable to Amanda, who hopes to become a teacher, she said.

The group also staged a basketball game between seniors and WHAG-TV staff members, promoted a pie-in-the-teacher's face contest, and sold carnations and lollipops to raise funds, the girls said.

They had to come up with about $1,000 each to attend the conference.

The Hancock Town Council, civic groups and business were generous with donations, but the county government and School Board, and the governor's office, refused to contribute, the girls said.

"A (Hancock) liquor store gave us money before the state would," Amanda said.

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