By Charlie Denison
Representatives from nine District V schools got together Thursday for a Family, Career and Community Leaders of America conference at the Dawson Community College Toepke auditorium.
The conference was both a fund-raiser and a fund-raising tutorial as Shodair Children’s Hospital Foundation Director Glen Newhart visited from Helena to give advice on how to raise money and introduce the students to 2010 Children’s Miracle Network Champion Child Abryanna Nelson.
The goal of the conference was to raise money for Shodair Children’s Hospital, an effort Newhart greatly appreciated.
During his speech, Newhart told several stories about successful fund-raisers done by young students and talked about the importance of having drive.
“The only way you’re going to be successful is to be passionate about what you’re doing,” he said.
Following his speech, Newhart shared a video about Nelson’s struggle with the rare condition of Friedreich’s ataxia. Nelson then took the stage and talked about her special year as the miracle child.
Nelson’s appearance made an impact on many students in attendance, FCCLA District V President Samantha Springer said.
“Seeing Abryanna put a face to what we’re doing,” Springer, a senior at Terry High School said.
An advocate of FCCLA since sixth grade in central Wisc., Springer has evolved as a leader for FCCLA in Terry and for the entire district, recruiting fellow students.
One of Springer’s goals for the Terry chapter of FCCLA is to have more boys sign up, a goal she accomplished.
“We had one boy involved and now we have three,” she said. “That’s a big thing for a school like Terry.”
In order for the high school students to have more fun with the fund-raising, students received pledges to bowl, shoot free throws and walk the DCC walking track.
On average, students raised about $25 each, Terry High School FCCLA Adviser Jody Haidle said.
“Some even raised over $100 individually,” she said.
High school students from Glendive, Ekalaka, Baker, Terry, Jordan, Sidney, Fairview, Wibaux and Plevna enrolled, Haidle said, counting 118 in all.
“The kids pledged for each mile they walked, every pin that they hit and every free throw they made,” Haidle said. “We had 48 kids shooting free throws.”
Dawson County High School Family and Consumer Science teacher Darcy Nordhagen said she is encouraged by the enthusiasm of the FCCLA students this year and is optimistic that the conference gave them a good idea of the difference they can make.
“Now our kids understand what they’re raising money for,” she said.
Norhagen added that she has seen FCCLA improve and mature her students, namely the seniors she had last year.
“It broadened their horizons,” she said. “The students learned how to work with the public, how to deliver a speech in public and how to get involved with the community.”
The community aspect of FCCLA is what appeals to Norhagen the most, she said.
“[FCCLA] originates around the family aspect,” she said. “And requires group cooperation and collaboration.”
As a student organization, coming together to represent the region and raise money for Shodair was inspiring to see, Springer said, and was a good all-around effort.
According to Springer, District V raised a total of $2,241.80 for Shodair Thursday.
“Last year the schools barely raised $1,000,” she said. “And we’re down 30 to 40 people since then. Hopefully this will increase the want for the leadership experience.”
By March, Springer said the goal is to raise $3,250.
The goal for the state is to raise $12,500.
Published Dec. 22, 2010