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FCCLA students head to state

Morgan Hankins and Claudia Garza, two Farragut High School Family, Career Community Leaders of America club members, won first-place at the club’s STAR Events Competition in February and will advance to the state level competition April 7-9 in Nashville.

STAR — Students Taking Action with Recognition — Events are competitive events in which members are recognized for proficiency and achievement in chapter and individual projects, leadership skills and occupational preparation.

FHS’s FCCLA club has chosen East Tennessee Children’s Hospital as its community project and has sewn pillows, stuffed lizards and muslin dolls for patients, made gingerbread houses to be sold at ETCH’s “Fantasy of Trees” fundraiser and volunteered to work the event.

Morgan and Claudia put together the prize-winning presentation based on this project and presented it before STAR judges.

Claudia said, “We did the service project display board. It is a huge poster and you display all the service projects you have done. Ours was Children’s Hospital and so we did three activities to support it.”

“You also have to do an oral presentation,” Morgan added.

With a few tips from the regional level judges, Claudia and Morgan said they feel comfortable moving on to state next month.

“They told us we need to reword a few things, but that was it,” Morgan said.

Recently, Morgan, Claudia and several other club members decided to take their project to the next level by delivering the pillows the club made to the patients at ETCH.

“It was fun making the pillows, but it was even more fun bringing them to the kids,” Morgan said.

Claudia agreed.

“It is great to be able to see the kids happy,” she added.

Joanna Simeone, Public Relations representative for ETCH, said the students’ project benefits the patients, the hospital and the students.

“There is just not a budget at the hospital for things like this so it is really wonderful to be able to offer these special kinds of things and not have to pay for them.

“We keep everything state-of-the-art here and the kids’ health is the No. 1 priority here. Obviously these special toys and things to use in therapy or for comfort are really important. However it is not the machine that is saving their life, so it that is our No. 1 concern as far as funds being raised,” she said.

“So these things being offered by schools … I wish every school would do it. I think it is a great process for the kids that are doing it to think outside the box. A lot of times people say ‘Oh it helps them imagine what a great place they are in in their lives and appreciate things more.’ I don’t think it has to be a lesson like that. I think it just helps them think a little more outside their own personal circumstances and think that this could happen to each and every family out there,” she added.

According to Simeone, the benefit to the children is not just in the gift received, but in the visit from the students as well.

“It is really neat to see the bonds between the kids. The peer interaction is really special because with these kids, it’s not like friends are running to the hospital every day and a lot of our patients need interactions with others their age,” she said.


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