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Victoria FCCLA continues to excel





Audrey Crawford already is thinking about next year, when she could become the first four-time national qualifier for Victoria's FCCLA organization. But it's not personal accolades the Victoria High School senior-to-be is most excited about.

This summer, Crawford and Tayla Geist, who graduated from VHS in May, combined to win gold at the National Leadership Conference of the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America in Orlando, Fla.

It was the third gold performance in as many years at nationals for Crawford while competing in the chapter showcase manual event.

Now, Crawford is looking forward to doing even more as a senior in 2012-13.

Crawford and junior-to-be Brooke Schmidt will team up for the chapter showcase project, but Crawford also is adding another project to her busy schedule -- one for community service.

She and her cousin, sophomore-to-be MaKayla Crawford, are planning to coordinate a community service project where they make hooded baby towels and donate them to the Children's Miracle Network.

Crawford said she came up with that idea while working her summer job as a lifeguard at Victoria's municipal swimming pool.

"The chapter showcase is like a scrapbook," she said, "and we're not really helping anyone. I'd like to coordinate something myself, be able to help people with my project. I saw somebody with one of those towels and thought of the idea."

Three other Victoria teams besides the Crawford-Geist duo also won gold at nationals, matching Victoria's record-setting four-gold effort of two years ago.

Graduated seniors Amanda Braun, Aubree Broyles and Blane Brungardt received the top gold in the nation in interior design, voted the No. 1 project among 43 in that category with a near-perfect 99 percent. It's the third consecutive year a Victoria team has won that top prize.

That effort just missed the perfect 100-percent effort of a year ago by Colin Schmidtberger and Taylor Kisner.

"Oh, yes, they were thinking about that (100 percent)," said Connie Braun, who has taken students to nationals in 10 of her 16 years as FCCLA instructor. "They wanted to continue that tradition."

In order to qualify for nationals, students had to finish at the top in district competition, then again at state.

MaKayla Crawford matched what cousin Audrey did following her freshman year in 2010, combining with classmate Haley Robben to receive gold in chapter showcase display. Two other sophomores-to-be, Anna Schmidtberger and Meagan Karlin, received gold in food innovations.

Another student project of which Braun was particularly proud was the national community service award won by graduated seniors Kaley Goetz and Courtney Unrein, who finished third overall for their project of collecting nearly 1,350 pairs of shoes for Soles4Souls.

In addition, juniors-to-be Kristin Huser and Rylee Broyles were selected to serve on the Kansas State Career Connections Peer Education Team for the 2012-13 school year. They will travel the state presenting workshops throughout the year.