Polytech Teacher Academy and Early Childhood Education Students Win Gold at FCCLA State Conference


Students from the Teacher Academy and early childhood education programs at Hunterdon County Polytech made a name for themselves – and their school – at this year’s NJ FCCLA State Leadership Conference, held recently in Cherry Hill. All eight participants from the school won gold. Seven of them won in categories that qualify them for the national championships, and one team achieved a perfect score in its category.

Polytech’s FCCLA Chapter was also recognized as a Red Rose Chapter, a designation awarded to just five of New Jersey’s 54 Chapters for excellence in leadership and community service. The chapter has put together an app highlighting activities throughout the school year, student reflections and goals and their impact on the community. This year, in addition to organizing a canned food drive, Polytech members made and donated blankets to sick children through the Derek’s Hugs organization.

Polytech folks who were recognized at the conference included the Teacher Academy student team Casey Brady, Erin Devine and Justin Eannone, who won first place gold in the Focus on Children category; Rosa Castaldo, early childhood student, who won first place in the Early Years category, post-secondary level; Olivia Melick, early childhood student, who won first place in the Early Years, Profession category; the team of early childhood students Haley Chifla and Morgan Murphy, who won first place gold and a perfect score in the Chapter Service Project Display category; and Fran Brunetti, early childhood pupil, who won first place gold in the Ethics category of storybooks.

All Polytech gold medalists except Fran Brunetti who attended a state-only event will attend the 2019 National Leadership Conference this summer in Anaheim, California. The National Family Career and Community Leaders of America Conference (FCCLA) will not only include the competition, but also workshops, specialized training and leadership opportunities for participants.

“I couldn’t be prouder of our Polytech students for their outstanding performance at the FCCLA State Conference,” said Natalie Guarino, Early Years and Teachers Academy instructor and advisor for the FCCLA Chapter of Polytech. . “Our teachers and students see the value of FCCLA and embrace ways to connect family and careers and develop community leaders. Our Perfect Score winners, Haley and Morgan, are prime examples of how our students grow as leaders through their involvement in FCCLA.

Clifla and Murphy received a perfect score in the Chapter Service Project Display category for their efforts to partner with the Crayola factory to recycle dried markers. They organized collection sites across the county which resulted in the donation of 1,400 markers to Crayola. The company converts them into other materials, including fuel. The duo’s project also included teaching preschoolers and high school students the importance of recycling.


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