Deaven Thompson, Southeast High School senior, got involved with FCCLA because her big brother made her do it.
The new FCCLA state officer is very glad that she followed his “advice” and joined in her freshman year.
Family, Career and Community Leaders of America is a non-profit career and technical student organization for young men and women in family and consumer sciences education in public and private schools through 12th grade. It is the only such national organization with the family as its central focus.
“My brother, Talon, was an FCCLA district officer,” she said. “I had a FACS (family and consumer science) class my first semester and the teacher asked me about FCCLA. I said I didn’t know if I was going to join or not. Then my brother said, ‘Deaven, you ARE going into FCCLA’.”
She did and attended the organization’s fall leadership convention that year.
“I had a lot of fun there,” Thompson said. “I also saw my brother up on the stage, and how cool that was.”
It inspired her to run for district vice president of finance during her sophomore year, and she won.
“I wanted to further it, so I ran for district president in my junior year,” Thompson said. “I had to write two three-minute speeches. My first speech was really fast. On my second speech, I got through the first paragraph and couldn’t remember the rest. I just stood there and people looked at me. I was mortified.”
But she persevered, quickly obtained a copy of her speech and finished delivering it.
“I did get district president, and I had so much fun,” she said. “After being district president, I didn’t want to go back, so I ran for state office, which is a difficult process.”
She wrote a speech on famous leaders, including Washington, Tim Tebow and Jesus.
“I’m pretty religious, and I can’t do anything without Jesus,” Thompson said.
She also had to go through an interview.
“It was really nerve-wracking to be surrounded by eight or 10 people firing questions at you,” she said. “Even if I hadn’t won the state office, I’d still be glad that I went through that process because now I know what a job interview will be like.”
As vice president of recognition, she serves on a committee with three FCCLA advisors who look over nominations for outstanding school principals, vice principals, etc.
“We have forms on the web site that students can fill out and they are sent to me,” Thompson said. “We usually get 10 to 20 nominations, and we set aside a whole day to look over the nominations. It’s kind of difficult to decide what award you should give and how to give it.”
Page 2 of 3 - Her state office requires her to do some traveling. In July she went to the National FCCLA Leadership Conference in Orlando, Fla.
“As a voting delegate, we chose the upcoming National Executive Council,” she said. “it was hard work, but I did get to go to Disney World.”
Another highlight was a bullying workshop she attended.
“That’s a cause near and dear to my heart,” Thompson said.
She has given several anti-bullying presentations in the area and has another one scheduled this week at the Cherokee Middle School.
“I plan on presenting at more schools, and if anybody wants me to make an anti-bullying presentation they can give me a call,” Thompson said.
She just returned from a three-day trip.
“We went to El Dorado High School,” Thompson said. “They don’t have FCCLA there, and one of our goals is to go to two schools that don’t have a chapter and talk to them. Then we had a State Council meeting and we planned Citizenship Day on the Hill in Topeka. We’ll be talking with our legislators about how FCCLA’s focus on the family and it helps develop leaders. We don’t want our program to be cut.”
She attended another event in Washington, D.C., and went to workshops on time management, stress relievers and organizing skills.
“These will really come in handy in my future,” she said. “We also talked with staff representatives of Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins and Sen. Jerry Moran and they were really, really nice. I felt they really respected us and were interested in what we had to say.”
In addition to the positions she has held, Thompson also took part with her friend Hannah Clausen in an FCCLA STAR project to raise money for a person suffering from a rare genetic disorder.
“We kind of made a difference in his life and he saw there were people who were kind and care,” she said. “He definitely made a difference in our lives as well.”
That STAR event earned Thompson and Clausen the right to compete at the FCCLA national level in Anaheim, Calif.
This year she plans another STAR event. This one will be career-related, and she plans to job shadow two doctors.
“I aspire to be a doctor,” Thompson said.
She feels that the skills she has learned during her four years in FCCLA, including organizational and time management skills, will help her to be successful in medical school.
“FCCLA isn’t just a cooking and sewing club,” Thompson said. “Yes, you can learn to cook and sew, but there’s so much more to it. I believe being in FCCLA helps with your maturity level. I’m so different from what I was as a freshman. But you have to want to help others and better yourself, because being in FCCLA will not magically transform you.”
Page 3 of 3 - She added that she has received help and support from many in her FCCLA activities.
“Mrs. Dezari Pierce is the Southeast FCCLA advisor,” Thompson said. “She drives me to and from meetings and pretty much acts as my surrogate mother while I’m gone. The teachers and our new principal have also been very supportive in allowing me to be gone from class to attend FCCLA events.”
She’s also got a lot of support at home.
“My parents, Mark and Terri Thompson, are awesome at helping me further myself,” she said. “They have never told me I couldn’t do something or I wouldn’t be good at it. I don’t know how I would have done with any other parents.”
Her brother Talon is now a Pittsburg State University junior physics major, and older sister Kelsey teaches physics at Shawnee, Okla.
“I’ll be looking at physics homework at 11 p.m. and I’ll call one of them and ask for help, and they explain it all to me,” she said.