HCHS Student Earns Perfect Score, National Award | Community Spirit
Houston County High School junior Emily Walker won a top national award during the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America’s (FCCLA) national conference. Emily received the highest score in the nation in the Students Taking Action with Recognition (STAR) Early Childhood event. In addition to a gold medal, she received $10,000 in scholarships.
Early Childhood is an individual event where students demonstrate their ability to use knowledge and skills gained from an occupational early childhood program. Emily is enrolled in Houston County High’s Industry Certified Early Childhood Education Program, which provides opportunities for interaction with preschoolers through the on-site Little Bears Preschool. She also interned with David Perdue Primary first grade teacher, Kristin Abernathy, a former student of the HCHS Early Childhood Education Program, who provided Walker with opportunities to learn strategies for working with older children.
Participants in the Early Childhood event must prepare a portfolio that showcases their knowledge and skills and a resource container to use to teach their assigned lesson. On site, participants must plan and present to evaluators an activity related to the theme, in response to a case study provided during the event.
“My scholarship award was the very first one announced so when my name was called to come to the stage, I wasn’t sure I had heard correctly,” commented Emily. “But when I realized that I had done so well, I was really excited! Following the rubric exactly as written, when preparing my portfolio, really paid off!”
Walker’s adviser and instructor, Jane Cooper, said, “Emily didn’t know the curricular area of the lesson she would be asked to present to the evaluators, so she had to be ready for anything. We are very proud of her!”
As the result of her award, Emily was invited to a reception honoring “Excellence in Achievement” at the Georgia Department of Education by State School Superintendent Dr. John D. Barge (pictured left). She was accompanied in Atlanta by her FCCLA advisers, Lynsey Singleton, and Jane Cooper, FCCLA State Executive Director Vickie Rundbaken, Houston County Director of Career, Technical and Agriculture Education (CTAE) Dr. Barbara Wall and Houston County High CTAE supervisor Del Martin.
Throughout the year, FCCLA members tackle issues such as teen violence prevention, traffic safety, family issues, career exploration, and much more. FCCLA programs and competitions enrich student learning, improve self-esteem, and serve students with a range of ability levels, economic situations, and cultural influences. The only career and technical in-school student organization with the family as its central focus, Georgia’s Association has the largest membership in the U.S. with about 36,000 members.
Emily’s parents are David and Susan Walker. Her principal, Dr. Michelle Masters, may be reached by phone at 478-988-6340 or by email at Michelle.Masters@hcbe.net.