Third straight national golf medal for Tara Thooft (left) and Natalie Bot.Molly Krog

FCCLA gals feel earth move at nationals

Bring home 2 golds, silver

They might have gotten a little shook up, (by the recent earthquakes in California), but the Minneota FCCLA girls didn't come home empty-handed from the National Leadership Conference this past week in Anaheim, CA.
Natalie Bot and Tara Thooft, both seniors this fall, earned a STAR Event gold medal for the third straight year as a duo. Molly Krog, also a senior-to-be, also won her third straight gold medal.
Kate Hennen, who will be a freshman, and Grace Hennen, an eighth-grader this fall, were competing in their first-ever trip to nationals, and came home with a silver medal.
"It was nice to see the older girls mentoring the young girls," said LeaAnne Bot. "It was their first time at nationals and I'm sure they were nervous. Tara, Natalie and Molly were really helpful to them."
Not competing at nationals were qualifiers Kaitlyn Ludwikowski and Natalie Bot in the Illustrated Talk category, and Abby Hennen and Rachel Vlaminck in Entrepreneurship.
LeaAnne and her five students were waiting for a shuttle outside their hotel to take them to the awards ceremony around 10:30 a.m. on Thursday when the 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck Southern California.
"The girls were seated on a metal bench and I was standing in the driveway talking to someone," said LeaAnne. "People were running out of the hotel and woman carrying a baby asked me if I felt the earthquake."
"I didn't really feel it standing where I was, but the girls said they could feel it on the bench. People on the 15th floor of the hotel said they could feel the building sway."
When the group was riding a shuttle to the airport at 4 a.m. Friday, July 5, another tremor hit.
"We couldn't feel it in the shuttle because we were leaving that area," LeaAnne said. "But our shuttle driver got a call from his wife and told him there was another earthquake and he told her to 'just get out of the house'."
The FCCLA group was back home when the 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck California on Saturday.
At the awards ceremony on Thursday, the Bot/Thooft combo were announced as the gold medal winners in the Innovative Foods STAR Event category.
"The requirement this year was for the Innovative Food competitors was to create an indulgent dessert that would remind people of simpler times," said LeaAnne Bot. "Their cupcake was similar to a Hostess cream-filled HoHo."
Bot and Thooft also had to inform judges how they created an original prototype formula, testing the product through various focus groups, and developing a marketing strategy. 
Krog competed in the Career Investigation category. Her project centered on conducting research on the career of Human Resources Management.
"(Molly) conducted career and personal interest assessments, as well as a day where she did a job shadow of a professional in human resources," said LeaAnne.
Kate and Grace Hennen earned their silver medals in the Sports Nutrition category.
"They duo assumed the role of sports nutritionist and developed a nutrition and hydration plan for a teenage athlete for two non-competitive days and one competitive day," LeaAnne explained. "They also demonstrated management told such as the MyFitnessPal app."
There were 4,500 STAR event competitors at the national conference this year. And there was attendance overall of approximately 8,500 delegates, advisors, guests and parents.
"The theme this year was 'Believe in Yourself'," said LeaAnne. "The Minneota FCCLA members attended a variety of leadership workshops, including one held at Disneyland."
Kyle Scheele was the keynote speaker at the event. Scheele is an inspirational speaker, writer and youth expert. Chef Gemma Stafford of Ireland also hosted a workshop in which she showed three different ways to make the best chocolate brownie.  And Chris Matthews also gave an inspirational talk about finding your Grind's Mission. 
The girls also toured Hollywood, Sunset Boulevard, the Walk of Stars, and Huntington Beach during their time in California.

Molly Krog

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