Matzeder earns gold at FCCLA state competition, advances to nationals
By Kelby Newcomb
Berryville High School junior Christena Matzeder won Gold at the state Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) competition in Conway this February.
There are three score rankings for the FCCLA competition: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Scores between one and 69 are Bronze, while scores between 70 and 89 are Silver. Students must receive a score of 90 or above for a Gold ranking.
Matzeder said her project was “Jeans for Teens” in the Chapter Service Project Portfolio division. She said she collected jeans for Bright Futures Berryville so the organization could give them to students who did not have them or could not afford them.
“The state competition was set up completely different from district,” she said. “You had to be put in a holding area for 30 minutes before you actually went to do your project. It was more confusing than the district competition because at district they held your hand through it.”
Matzeder said she was a lot more nervous for the state competition because winning meant she would advance to FCCLA Nationals in Anaheim, Calif., this summer.
“I was way more nervous because I had to opportunity to go to Anaheim, Calif, and Disneyland,” she said, laughing. “I was like ‘I have to go,’ so it was way more stressful. I guess I did pretty good. I got Gold.”
After scoring Silver at district, she said it was exciting to place Gold at state.
“I was competing against more people at state, so that made me feel better,” Matzeder said. “It was definitely an amazing experience walking across the stage and hearing that Berryville was going on to nationals.”
She said the first thing she did was call her friend Jacey Howerton, who will be attending nationals as the District 1 Vice President of Programs, to tell her they would be going to Disneyland together.
“I’m really nervous for nationals,” Matzeder said, “but at the same time you can’t go any further than nationals. So it’s not that bad.”
She said she plans to work on her speech beforehand.
“I have a really good speech,” she said. “I just need to work on presenting it to people and not getting so nervous.”
Matzeder said it will also be cool to meet new people at nationals.
“At district and state, you look at everyone and you don’t know who is competing in what category,” she said, “so everyone is competition. Meeting new people at nationals will definitely be cool.”
FCCLA adviser Leah Bunch said this is the third year in a row a Berryville student has competed at nationals. She said she feels honored that her FCCLA students have taken the initiative to compete in the STAR Events each year and have qualified in their categories.
“I am really proud of Christena! She worked hard on this project,” Bunch said, “and improved her project a lot between the district and state levels. Gold is tough to achieve at state, and it is a real honor to go to nationals.”
She continued, “It has been a blessing to see her project and Bright Futures help so many students in our school! We are also really excited to go to California, pending school board approval.”
To raise money for travel expenses, Bunch said FCCLA has had several fundraisers approved by the Berryville School Board, including selling T-shirts designed by Matzeder and Howerton, selling jerky, selling suckers and other ideas that are still in the works.
“It’s supposed to be a great conference with great side trips,” Bunch said. “We’re excited about those. I think it’s going to be fun and a great learning experience for the girls.”