Riverbank High School senior Carolina Duarte has been busy this summer as a State Officer for the FHA-HERO organization and member of the FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) traveling and advocating for Home Economics education along with five other state officers throughout the state of California.
FHA-HERO is a career technical student organization (CTSO) for students in grades 7-12 who are enrolled in Home Economics Careers and Technology programs in California public schools.
As an elected FHA-HERO State Officer for the 2015-16 school year, Duarte will serve as the State Historian alongside five other State Officers that were elected at the State Meeting in April.
In early June, Duarte attended a Leadership and Management Conference for the Home Economics Teachers Association of California in Burlingame to assist and discuss goals and projects for the year as a state officer. Then she attended the FCCLA National Convention in Washington D.C. with a few advisors, state officers, and approximately 20 members from California, July 4 through 11.
In D.C., Duarte represented California and went to workshops, leadership development, and networked with other state officers to brainstorm new ideas for future meetings.
“Going to D.C. really gave me a rich knowledge of our history,” said Duarte. “It was a great experience, I loved it.”
While there, Duarte was able to talk with legislators about the FHA-HERO program and advocated for Home Economics education. Legislators asked the students questions about their club and what type of activities they were involved in throughout the school year.
“I got to speak with Jeff Denham, he is really nice,” added Duarte. “He was really on board with Home Economics education so he was really supportive of that.
“It (the trip to D.C.) really helped me learn more as a person and to be more independent.”
The last week of July was the final Region Officer Training Conference (ROTC) at CSU Fresno where the state officers trained the region officers on their positions as well as taught them about the organization’s goals and projects throughout the year.
Duarte was also awarded the Chapter Degree during the first General Session in April which helps develop leadership skills.
With love and passion for the FHA-HERO organization, Duarte expressed that the experience has been great in building her confidence and has expanded her personal skills.
“As of now we are just planning for the state meeting, that is our next big event and we are going to be assisting at the fall region meetings,” Duarte explained. “We are going to go to each fall meeting and talk with the members about our goals and projects.”
The first local Chapter meeting will be held today, Wednesday, Aug. 26 during lunch in room 602 on the Riverbank High School campus. At the meeting, Duarte will share information about the FHA-HERO group and students will be able to sign up.
Oct. 31 will be the first Region 6 meeting and the chapter officers will be elected at Tokay High School in Lodi.
“All of the schools in the area are going to meet up at that school for a region meeting and that is where they can learn about FHA HERO and their role as officers,” said Duarte. “Also one meeting that we have in September is the Chapter Officer Training Conference that we hold at Johns Incredible Pizza in Modesto and that is where the region officers train the new chapter officers from each school for their position.”
Duarte has set a goal to travel around the area and visit other schools to get them to join the organization.
“This is a great opportunity for students to gain leadership development,” expressed Duarte. “I think it is a really great organization that everyone should be a part of.”