Breanna Bedore, a 2019 graduate of Parsons High School, walked away from the FCCLA National Leadership Conference this month with gold.
Bedore joined more than 8,600 Family, Career and Community Leaders of America student leaders, members and advisers at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California.
The conference provided Bedore the opportunity for energizing learning while listening to inspiring speakers, expanding leadership skills, sharpening talents and exploring career pathways. This year’s conference inspired attendees to make the right choices and commit themselves to making a positive impact within their families, schools, FCCLA and communities.
Bedore participated in Recycle and Redesign, one of 30 family and consumer science competitive events offered at the conference.
It has been a number of years since PHS had an FCCLA club and participated in district and state competitions. Prior to PHS FCCLA teacher Courtney Shafer taking the position two years ago, the last time students reportedly went to state was in 2013. Then two years ago Shafer began the club again and had two students make it to state, but they didn’t make it to nationals.
Shafer said to the best of her knowledge, Bedore is the first PHS FCCLA student to go on to compete at the National Leadership Conference.
This was only Bedore’s second year in FCCLA and her first year to compete.
“My project was in the category of Recycle and Redesign, where I take a recycled product and turn it into something new. I took donated fire hoses and cut them and decorated them with spray paint and decorative markers. You can then slide them across the hydraulic door hinges in the classrooms, so if there is a school intruder, the intruder can’t open the door and get into the classroom,” Bedore said.
The idea, she said, came after PHS received an anonymous threat of a shooting in 2018 that placed the school on lockdown. The FBI determined the threat was made by a juvenile in Wisconsin who was not familiar with the Parsons community. Despite the determination that the threat was not real, it got Bedore thinking.
“I actually had Bre in my class when that was going on, and there were only a couple of them in there. She was pretty nervous,” Shafer said. “We got to talking about what we could do to make the classroom safer, but on a budget.
“The next day, I wanted to do some research on what we could do in that type of situation, to help students feel safer,” she said.
Even though it ended up not being an actual threat, Bedore wondered about what if it was. While the doors lock, she noticed they all had a sheet of glass that she thought could be broken or shot out, allowing an intruder to easily reach in and unlock the door.
With strong hose creating a sheath that is slid over the hydraulic hinge on the door, she said an intruder is unable to open the door, even if they get it unlocked.
Shafer said Bedore really took the idea and ran with it.
The top two competitors at state competitions advance to nationals. There, Bedore won a gold rating, having received 90 points or higher and making her one of the top two. She could hardly believe she would be the first PHS FCCLA student to advance to nationals. There she grabbed another gold rating and placed 12th in the nation among 84 students she competed against in her category.
“I thought it was so cool, especially because it was in Anaheim, California, and I’ve never been to California before,” Bedore said. “I just felt accomplished with myself. It was my goal to make it and be the first person to go. Having accomplished that made me feel really good about myself, and it made me wish I would have started FCCLA in my freshman year, but they had stopped FCCLA for a while.”
This fall, Bedore will head to Coffeyville Community College to play volleyball on scholarship. She has not decided her major but plans to get all of her general education courses knocked out. Bedore said she is looking forward to this next challenge.
“She did really good. I’m really proud of her,” Shafer said, adding it is rare that a first-timer made it not only through district to state but also qualified for nationals. “She had confidence every time she went up and was presenting her project. That gave me more confidence in her. … To score 12th out of 84, that’s pretty good.”