Special to The Times
Evelyn Derrico wants to make a difference in the city and state.
Derrico, 16, a junior at Wenonah High School in southwest Birmingham is running for state officer with the Alabama Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA).
“Some people run for the title, but I really want to make an impact here and in the state,” she said.
The nonprofit student organization focuses on promoting students’ personal growth and leadership development through Family and Consumer Sciences education.
Derrico said she wants to get other Birmingham City Schools involved in FCCLA which also has a focus on the role of family and community leaders, and helps members develop skills for life through character development and career and technical preparation.
“It’s one of the only youth organizations where family is the focus,” said Diann Pilgrim, an FCCLA adviser for Wenonah. “Sometimes I think we’ve gotten away from the family.”
Improved family relationships are a big part of creating a better community, Derrico said.
“Simply changing a few things can improve family relations,” she said. “Some students might not eat dinner with their family so a student cooking a meal for their family could prompt a closer family relationship.”
Derrico, who wants to study science and mathematics and minor in secondary education, said she also is hoping to encourage her peers to find their career paths.
“We have a hospitality and tourism program, and it can help boost students’ career options,” Derrico said. “Some students don’t know what they want to go into, well in FCCLA we’re here to help students discover what they really want to do. Not everyone is going to be a doctor, lawyer, teacher, or athlete. There are so many other career options that they can go into.”
Her classmates will join her in Montgomery on March 10 to present their Students Taking Action with Recognition (STAR) projects for a chance to win a gold medal and compete in the national STAR competition.
Amber Senior and Sakinah Townes will present a project on how to deal with stress as a student and teenager.
“We like for them to pick a topic they are interested in helping their classmates with,” Pilgrim said. “We try to pick something that the students can learn from.”