Howerton earns silver at FCCLA nationals
Berryville High School junior Jacey Howerton competed at FCCLA nationals for the second year in a row this summer, earning silver at the National Leadership Conference in Atlanta, Ga.
Howerton said she competed in the Job Interview division of the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) STAR Events, using skills she has obtained through her family and consumer science (FACS) classes to go through a mock job interview and explain how these classes will help her in her future career.
“I think I scored an 88 or almost an 89, which is silver,” Howerton said. “Gold is 90 or above. It was definitely awesome. Silver is still really good.”
One challenge, she said, is that there are different judges at the district, state and national levels of the competition.
“My presentation and what I did didn’t really go as planned,” she said, “because it’s hard to keep a consistent way that they judge the STAR Events through district, state and nationals. There were different things where I got points counted off that I had gotten a perfect score on at state. I’m still not sure why.”
Howerton continued, “It was different, but I was also OK with it because I had made it to the national level. At that point, I was just competing against myself and the rubric.”
Only a few competitors from Arkansas received gold at the national level, she said.
“Only a couple students from Arkansas got gold at the national level, so that made me feel a little better,” Howerton said. “I was the only job interview from Arkansas so that was really neat. In my category, there were not that many at the national level. It was a select few that made it.”
She said this was also her first time visiting Atlanta. She said the experience was different from her visit to Nashville, Tenn., for the national conference last year.
“It was very different and eye-opening,” Howerton said. “It was kind of sketchy in some places, but you were in such a big group that it wasn’t dangerous. You weren’t in harm’s way at all because you were always with a group.”
She continued, “They had maximum security. There were guards and different police men and women everywhere at all times. You never felt unsafe. My mom went to Atlanta for nationals when she was in high school. She said it has changed so much.”
Among her favorite sites in the city, Howerton said, were the World of Coca-Cola museum and the Georgia Aquarium.
“The Coca-Cola factory was really neat,” she said. “It was cool trying all the different sodas from different countries. If you go to the Coca-Cola factory, you have to try the drink ‘Beverly’ from Italy.”
Howerton continued, “My friend from Texas I met last year went there with his group the day before us, and he was like ‘You’ve got to try this soda.’ I was like ‘All right, I’ll take your word for it.’ I got the biggest gulp of it and almost threw up. It tasted like cough syrup.”
She said she was impressed by the Georgia Aquarium.
“The aquarium is ranked number one in the nation,” Howerton said. “It was really big, and there were lots of people there. They had a really cool dolphin show.”
She said her trip to Atlanta was an exciting experience overall and she hopes to compete at FCCLA nationals again next summer.
“I would love to continue to do it,” she said. “This year, nationals are in Anaheim, Calif. Next year is the 100th anniversary of FCCLA, and nationals will be in Washington D.C. I’m hoping to go to both.”
Howerton said she is considering running for a district officer position as well.
“If I get elected, I would be a district officer my senior year. I’m excited to do that,” she said. “It’s a really neat organization, and it’s definitely opened a lot of doors for me.”