By Lora Scripps
Casie Barksdale remembers Rachel Carter’s first day at Athens High School as a freshman.
“She was enrolled in my family and consumer sciences course,” said Barksdale, a family and consumer sciences teacher and Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America adviser. “I was introducing the students to the department and educating them on FCCLA — what we do, who we are, what we want to become.”
Barksdale described how Rachel, the daughter of Randy and Beth Carter, lit up when she first heard about FCCLA, a career tech organization with family as its focus.
“Her eyes were so big and sparkled,” Barksdale said. “I knew she was going to join and be a dynamic leader for club.”
Rachel, now a junior, joined and exceeded Barksdale’s expectations.
Her first year, she competed in the STAR (Student Taking Action in Recognition) competition, — which includes more than 70 competitive events — during the FCCLA leadership conference in Montgomery. She won “Top Gold” and was selected to compete nationally, where she later won another gold medal.
After the competitions, Rachel sat through the state officer speeches and elections.
“She looked over at me and said, ‘That will be me next year,’” Barksdale said.
She was right.
Rachel went on to compete in another STAR event.
She also ran for state officer, gave a speech using baseball terms and won. She was elected as vice president by FCCLA members attending the yearly conference and is currently one of six officers that represent 8,000 members in the state. She is the first state officer from Athens.
“All officers were given forms to rank their preference of the office in which they would like to serve,” FCCLA State Adviser Jennifer Adams said. “Each officer was interviewed by a team of FFCLA officers and or advisors. The officer with the highest scores were compared to their preference of office and positions were assigned.”
Adams believes Rachel is “very motivated” and “quite an asset” to the organization. “She is creative and clearly understands the importance of her role in this leadership position,” Adams said.
Rachel believes FCCLA has made her a stronger leader in her family, school and community, and helped her become a better public speaker. She said it’s an honor to serve as state officer.
She is currently working with FCCLA to help hungry children and teens going without their basic needs.
When asked about goals for the organization, Rachel said she would like to see more students take part in competitive events. She believes they help individuals with public speaking, teamwork and attaining goals.
“She has been a tremendous asset to the growth of our club at Athens,” Barksdale said. “She is extremely dedicated, happy and energetic and is definitely passionate about our club. Rachel came to me with leadership potential and FCCLA has been a great vessel to allow her to maximize her leadership qualities and grow into and excellent leader.”
Rachel plans to run for National FCCLA Office this summer at the STAR National Conference set for July 6-10, in San Antonio, Texas.
“I look forward to working with her as she develops her leadership skills throughout the remainder of her state officer position,” her state advisor said.
Rachel is a member of the National Honor Society, Beta Club and SGA and is also a varsity cheerleader.
She feels driven as a leader.
“I feel that getting involved in multiple organizations helps me expand my leadership,” she said.
Her future goals include attending the University of North Alabama where she would like to major in computer engineering and computer science.