“It’s always been my dream, “said Laura Taylor. “Well,” she added with a laugh, “It’s been my dream since sixth grade when I first became an FCCLA member.”
Laura’s dream: To be the National President of the FCCLA or Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America.
Laura’s dream became reality on July 9, 2014, when she was elected the FCCLA’s National President at their leadership conference held in San Antonio, Texas.
Laura, a rising senior at Strasburg High School, is part of a ten member National Executive Council (NEC) that will advocate for the FCCLA and support its many programs. As National President, Laura will travel extensively throughout America as the spokesperson for FCCLA.
“I will be the key representative of the organization,” said Laura.
| "Laura is an outstanding leader and amazes me a little more each time she gets on stage on in front of a group," said Heather Hiserman. Ms. Hiserman is the Family and Consumer Sciences teacher and FCCLA adviser at Strasburg High School. “I am excited to see everything that she will accomplish this year through FCCLA."
FCCLA is an organization that describes itself as the “ultimate leadership experience” and the only Career and Technical Student Organization in America with the family as its central focus. FCCLA offers students the opportunity not only to expand leadership skills, but also to learn about careers, develop life and job skills, and become involved in the community. Nationwide, there are nearly six thousand FCCLA chapters with 200,000 members.
Laura’s path to the national presidency began five years ago when she competed at the state level in a STAR (Students Taking on Action with Recognition) Event. Laura and another sixth grader collaborated on a project that focused on teaching fire safely to children at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Dressed as a fireman with her partner posing as a Dalmatian, Laura and her team mate’s presentation about their project earned them first place in the state competition and a trip to the National FCCLA Leadership Conference. That was in 2009. Laura has been to the national conference every year since.
Then, in the seventh grade, Laura was elected State Vice-President for Parliamentary Law. As a tenth grader, she was elected State FCCLA President. Laura’s election to the state presidency sealed her decision to run for national office.
FCCLA has a national election process that culminates in the selection of ten candidates who will hold the ten national offices of the Executive Council. The election process begins with the candidate gaining the support of his or her state FCCLA.
Virginia FCCLA nominated Laura as Virginia’s candidate for national office. The Virginia Department of Education also supported her nomination. Laura was on her way to the 2014 National FCCLA Leadership Conference as a candidate for a national office.
Additional steps in the election process involve completion of a detailed application; a written, quite comprehensive test about the organization, its history, and its programs; numerous impromptu and prepared speeches; one-on-one interviews with the national staff; and collaborative work with other team members in order to complete an assigned task.
Over the course of four days, the voting delegates representing 53 state associations reduce the number of nominees for national office to twenty and finally to ten.
Each of these ten final nominees will hold one of the offices of the National Executive Board: President, First Vice-President, Vice President of Community Service, Vice-President of Competitive Events, Vice-President of Development, Vice-President of Finance, Vice-President of Membership, Vice-President of Parliamentary Law, Vice-President of Programs, and Vice-President of Public Relations.
Laura Taylor (back row, center) and the other nine members
of the 2014-2015 FCCLA National Executive Council will advocate for 200,000 FCCLA members nation-wide.
Interestingly, the final ten national candidates decide through secret ballot which person will hold which office. At this summer’s conference, eight of the final ten national candidates wanted to be president. They sat at a round table and following individual responses to the same question, each nominee was allowed to vote twice giving them the opportunity to vote for themselves and for another person. Laura was elected president on the first ballot.
Laura Taylor knew on Wednesday night that she was the National President of the FCCLA, but she was not allowed to share that news. The official announcement of the individuals holding the ten offices of the National Executive Council was made on Thursday night with the National President named last.
“It was amazing!” said Laura whose mom and dad and older sister Rachel were in the audience.
Laura Taylor and Alexis Mathias, SHS senior who is the new Virginia State FCCLA President, paused for a photo at the Convention.
Laura Taylor and with Brian Will, the past National
President of the FCCLA, are both former Virginia State FCCLA Presidents.
Now, Laura faces a daunting challenge—a challenge she will meet with enthusiasm and a smile. Laura is a senior at Strasburg High School. She hopes to play volleyball and keeps stats for boys’ basketball as she has done in the past. She is a member of the National Honor Society, the President of the Senior Class, and a member of the SCA. She is active in her community and in her church. AND, she is the National President of the FCCLA, a role that will require her to be frequently away from home and school.
“My teachers know that my responsibilities as FCCLA National President take priority,” she said. “But I will not neglect my family or my community.” After all, the FCCLA is all about family and community.
Congratulations and Best Wishes
National President of the FCCLA
from all of us !