Being a member of an extra-curricular activity can give students access to a whole new world of thinking and skills. One such organization is Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA). This is a dynamic and effective national student organization that helps young men and women become leaders and address important personal, family, work, and societal issues.
By Melissa Anderson
“FCCLA is unique among youth organizations. It is the only career and technical in-school student organization with the family as its central focus. Participation in national programs and chapter activities helps members become strong leaders in their families, careers, and communities,” Amy Kram, Family & Consumer Sciences and FCCLA Advisor at Langdon Area High School(LAHS), said.
At the LAHS chapter, the focus is on leadership, community service projects and competitive events. Kram explained that members are encouraged to be as involved as they want and are able to- since the majority of members are also involved in other school activities. Chapter projects can focus on a variety of youth concerns, including teen pregnancy, parenting, family relationships, substance abuse, peer pressure, environment, nutrition and fitness, teen violence, and career exploration.
“Involvement in FCCLA offers members the opportunity to expand their leadership potential and develop skills for life — planning, goal setting, problem solving, decision making, and interpersonal communication — that necessary in the home and workplace,” Kram said.
Abby Romfo joined FCCLA during her freshman year of high school. FCCLA was appealing to her as she was looking to become more involved with the school’s extra-curricular activities plus her older sister, Jayden, was in FCCLA and encouraged Romfo to join. Once she joined, there was no looking back as Romfo set course to become the best leader she could be.
“I love everything about FCCLA, but I would say a couple of my favorite things are the people it has brought into my life, the leadership experiences, and the overall joy and happiness it brings into my life,” Romfo shared.
Romfo’s incredible passion for the organization was noted by Kram after attending the ND State Leadership Conference during her freshman year. Kram recalls that it was then that Romfo set her goal to become district president, which was accomplished during Romfo’s sophomore year. Since then, Romfo has worked with Kram, and through her individual FACS class, to explore ways that she could become more involved in FCCLA.
“This year, at our fall district leadership meeting, she not only presided over the meeting as district president, but she also worked with another member to create and present a workshop on one of the national programs for FCCLA,” Kram shared.
After being district president, Kram believes that Romfo’s qualities that gave her success at that level will help her have success at the state level. Kram explained that Romfo “is an active member who has shown a desire to lead by example. She has a great attitude and works to improve the attitude of those around her”. Her interest in leadership and leading by example had her completing the application to run for office at the recent North Dakota FCCLA state conference.
“I wanted to run for a state FCCLA office because I had a great leadership experience as a district president. I also wanted to continue and grow as a leader, so I took it to the next level by running for state office,” Romfo stated.
The application process includes advisor recommendation/support, letters of support from an administrator and classroom teacher, a resume detailing FCCLA and other school/community activities, and two essay questions. At state convention, Romfo and her fellow candidates gave a 2-3 minute speech centered around one question, “what are 3 ways FCCLA has empowered you to believe in yourself”. The speeches were given during a general session with all members attending convention able to attend. Candidates also participated in questioning by voting delegates and an interview with a panel of former state officers and adults.
“State officers are elected by chapters voting delegates to the team. Officer positions – such as president – are determined by a preference form, election among the state officers, and input from the interview as well as the state advisor,” Kram shared.
LAHS Superintendent Daren Christianson had this to say about Romfo – ”Abby is dependable in taking care of her responsibilities ranging from simply getting to school consistently and on time to the variety of leadership positions she takes on. She can always lead with a positive attitude in a way that others are willing to follow her. She conducts herself in a way that her example shows how to be a productive part of our school society.”
Now that she has gained the gavel for the ND State FCCLA, Romfo has already created goals and plans for herself in her new role. Her first order of business is to increase membership state-wide and to inspire people through this organization. On a more personal level, Romfo has set a goal to complete Power of One, an FCCLA national program that helps members set goals and work to make positive changes.
“I will be attending the CTSO (Career and Technical Student Organizations) Leadership Training in June where the FCCLA state officers will work together to set state goals for the upcoming year,” Romfo said.
Congratulations to Abby Romfo and the members of the LAHS FCCLA for their hard work over the past year!