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Celebrating a strong family: the 2005 Family, Career and Community Leaders of America National Leadership Meeting was a celebration of the career and technical student organization's long and successful history.

More than 5,400 Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) members, advisers, alumni and guests from across the country gathered in San Diego, California, for the 2005 FCCLA National Leadership Meeting. This year's national meeting, held in July, was especially auspicious because it celebrated the organization's 60th anniversary. Themed "Sixty Years Strong--Where YOU Belong," the meeting aimed to provide attendees with the ultimate leadership experience.

Dynamic speakers gave presentations on critical teen issues such as goal setting, overcoming the fear of failure, and self-perceived limitations. They also covered societal issues such as teen pregnancy and drunken driving, and gave workshops on ways youth can make an impact in their communities and improve their leadership skills.

Some Highlights

Approximately 2,200 of the meeting attendees took part in STAR Events (Students Taking Action with Recognition)--the association's competitive events that build proficiency and achievement in leadership and job-related skills.

One of the highlights for many attendees at the national meeting is the opportunity to network with others from across the country and share goals and project ideas. Divya Rachakonda, a former Michigan FCCLA state officer, says that this year's meeting topped previous FCCLA experiences.

"The meeting was dynamic, exciting, entertaining and informative from start to finish," Rachakonda comments. "Seeing the impact that chapters have had on their communities has motivated my chapter's executive council to implement more programs and projects."

FCCLA is a dynamic and effective national career and technical student organization that helps young men and women become leaders and address important personal, family, work and societal issues through family and consumer sciences education. It is the only student-led organization with the family as its central focus.

The Benefits

FCCLA has more than 220,000 members and nearly 7,000 chapters from 50 state associations and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, and has involved more than 10 million youth since its founding in 1945. The theme of this year's national leadership meeting encouraged members to celebrate FCCLA's history and foundation and build a successful future by exploring career options, addressing community needs and focusing on family relations. FCCLA continues to evolve to address the unique needs of youth, families and communities in the 21st century.

Involvement in FCCLA offers members the opportunity to expand their leadership potential and develop skills for life--such as planning, goal setting, problem-solving and interpersonal communication--that are necessary in the home and workplace.

The local, state and national FCCLA organization helps young people examine many of the issues and challenges facing youth today. Future careers, youth violence prevention, family relations, traffic safety, community service, and the changing roles of men and women in the home and workplace are explored through the curriculum, hands-on activities, and travel to meetings at the state, regional and national levels.

Billy Plastine from John P. Stevens High School in Edison, New Jersey, was elected as the new national FCCLA president at this year's national leadership meeting. Plastine, also active in his school's student government, National Honor Society, and marching and concert bands, attributes FCCLA with helping him prepare for a successful future.

"FCCLA has helped me enhance my leadership potential, learn more about myself and others, develop public speaking and communication skills, strengthen my relationships with my family and friends, and become a more involved member of my school and community," Plastine says.

He also notes, "FCCLA has helped me prepare for my future by teaching me important life skills that will help me lead a successful, healthy life!"

Alisha Dixon Hyslop is ACTE's Assistant Director of Public Policy. She can be reached at

For more information about FCCLA, visit
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Author:Hyslop, Alisha Dixon
Date:Sep 1, 2005
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