Devine FCCLA students perfect STAR projects in run-up to Regional competition

Covid-19 has taken a huge hit on everyone, especially students. What was expected to be an extra week added on to spring break turned into the rest of the year. With nothing to do in quarantine, many students turned to social media. This is a great place to meet new people and gain confidence, if you know what you’re doing and how to stay safe. Devine FCCLA members Analea Brooks, Caleb Martin and Andrea Sanchez chose this topic as their STAR event project this year. Cyber Safety was created to inform students about the dangers of being online and how to stay safe on the internet. “We feel as though being safe on the internet is just as important as staying safe in real life,” Brooks stated.
On November 3rd the students presented to 183 middle school students. The trio presented a slide show detailing why younger students need to be careful while on social media and gaming platforms. On December 1st, Brooks, Martin and Sanchez held an Advisory at their high school aimed at the freshmen class to show them the dangers. The 9th graders filled out surveys before the presentation and then again once it was over so that the FCCLA students could gauge how well the 118 students understood the dangers. The group plans to continue this project in the Spring to keep awareness high in this age group.
Devine FCCLA sophomore members Madison Cumpian and Cassandra Elias are highlighting the National Program, Families First, this year. With the struggles that many families have been experiencing as a result of COVID and even before it, the girls want to give students the knowledge on how to cope with difficulties. On December 8th and 9th, Cumpian and Elias presented a slideshow to 86 students in various FCS classes at their school. The presentation spotlighted different difficulties families could face and gave the audience ideas on how to handle those situations or how and where to seek help. The girls used the national program partner, National Family Week, to help plan their own National Family Week in January for community members. They will also utilize another national program partner, Family Dinner Project, to help bring families closer together and become stronger even in these very trying times.
Junior Brian Schaefer is making community service his #1 priority this year. In November he talked to 250 students at the middle school about community service and different examples of what those students could be doing. The school held a Food Drive in December to benefit the Devine Food Pantry. On December 15th Schaefer presented to 54 fourth graders at the intermediate school about community service and why it is important. Schaefer designed Christmas cards as a service project for the kids to color and decorate for residents at the Devine Health and Rehabilitation Nursing Home. Schaefer plans on holding more community service projects in the spring to continue raising awareness in his community.
On September 30, 2020, the Devine FCCLA chapter met after school to clean up 2 miles of FM 2200. This chapter community service project was spearheaded by senior Jamie Courtade who is using this opportunity to clean up the sides of the road as part of her STAR event this year. Jamie contacted her principal to get the event scheduled and the chapter used the school’s Don’t Mess with Texas bags from Adopt- a- Highway Program. Twenty-five participants gathered 13 large bags of litter during the event which helped to beautify the area near the high school and middle school campuses. On November 11th and 12th Courtade presented to 87 third, fourth and fifth graders at Devine Intermediate School. She prepared a Google Slideshow concerning the importance of recycling that she presented to each class. Next, she discussed gardening at home and how easy it is to reuse plastic bottles and fashion them into hydroponic planters. With the help of two more FCCLA members and the students’ science teacher, the kids were able to fill the planters with soil and plant their own pinto beans to take home and watch grow. Courtade’s hope is that each student will see that recycling unwanted litter can create something else that is still useful. And then on November 18th and 19th she presented to105 of her high school peers informing them of the effects on the earth and the cost to the US Government due to littering. To keep informing students, Courtade took her project to Ciavarra Elementary to make a presentation to 35 second graders. She made coffee filter earths with the kids and explained that they should start now while they are young to care for our environment. She wrapped up the fall by hosting one more highway clean up near the golf course where 9 bags were filled by 12 people. Courtade plans to carry her project over to the middle school this spring to make sure that all campuses are aware of the importance of keeping our community clean.
Freshmen FCCLA members Makayla Breiten and Olivia Zapata are raising awareness this year about children in foster care who are waiting to be adopted. On December 14th, the girls presented to their Principles of Human Services class. Along with giving information about foster care, they focused on the number of children in Texas (over 13,000) who are in foster care. Breiten and Zapata hosted a donation drive just in time for the holidays to give essentials to children in their area who are in foster care. The girls are starting another drive at the high school to gather items off of St. PJ’s Wish List to donate this month, as well.
A second freshman team comprised of Hilary Barnett and Brynlea Byrd is working on Sports Nutrition for their project. The group chose softball as their sport to focus on and sent out requests to several college softball players to help them complete their project. Two players, one from Baylor University and one from Texas Tech, agreed to keep a food log for a week for Barnett’s and Byrd’s project. “Our main goal is to help people better understand nutrition and what you should be eating while playing softball,” Byrd commented.