Purdy FCCLA visits US Capitol

Wednesday, January 5, 2022
Purdy FCCLA Members attending the Capitol Leadership and National Fall Conferences in Washington, D.C., are pictured in front of the Capitol Building. Front row, from left: Monserat Alvarez, Caitlin Brown, Taryn Orwig and Adviser Amy Harkey. Back row: Weston Ellison and Daniel Aldava. Contributed photo

Students challenged to ‘Make it Count’

A delegation of Purdy students and their adviser, Amy Harkey, traveled to Washington, D.C., in November as part of the High School Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) program.

While in the nation’s capitol, the students attended FCCLA's Capitol Leadership Conference, where they were challenged to “Make it Count” through advocacy training opportunities, Hill Day Role Play, participating in an advocacy rally and reflecting on their individual Hill Visits.

Following the Capitol Leadership Conference, the Purdy group attended the FCCLA National Fall Conference and participated in helping purchase 500 pairs of socks from the organization “We Help Two,” to support their student sponsorship program.

This program provides the ability for a child to attend a high-quality, private school in Uganda. “We Help Two” also donated socks to local homeless shelters in the Washington, D.C., area during the conference. Attendees from Purdy included Weston Ellison, Caitlin Brown, Taryn Orwig, Daniel Aldava and Monserat Alvarez.

In its spare time, the Purdy delegation toured the Nation's Capitol, enjoying fascinating visits to Congress; the White House; the Blair House; the Supreme Court; the Washington, Lincoln, 

Thomas Jefferson, Roosevelt, Korean War, Martin Luther King Jr. and World War II memorials; the Pentagon and the Vietnam Wall.

Serving as the group's official tour guide was Harkey's brother, Matthew C. Hutson, a former Chief of Staff on Capitol Hill and a Washington D. C. business owner.

“It was a great experience, for sure,” said Weston Ellison, attendee and Purdy FCCLA Chapter vice-president of membership. “We got to visit a lot of monuments and memorials, and that was super cool. Seeing them on TV and then seeing them in real life was mind-blowing. We learned a lot about the White House from Ms. Harkey's brother, Matt. We got to see the Changing of the Guard at Arlington National Cemetery, and that was really cool.

“The Italian Prime Minister of Defense was there, so we got to see a ceremony for them, too. We also learned a lot at the conference sessions. They were very mind-opening. One of the guest speakers talked about choosing to be leaders in hard situations, rather than standing by and following. He encouraged us to be the people we want to be and not let other people change our minds.”

Adviser Amy Harkey said Washington, D.C., is her favorite city to visit

“When I got the opportunity to take a group of my students to our Nation’s Capitol, I wanted to make a way for them to go, and I’m so glad I did,” she said. “As a high school student, I never had the opportunity to visit places. I feel it is important to offer opportunities for our students to travel. For some students, the only way they are able to travel outside of Barry County is with the school. 

“Not only does traveling reinforce lessons in the classroom, but it also builds leadership skills in our youth. It was amazing to watch my students step up and take the lead when pushed to do so.”

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