Madeline Wittstruck will start her senior year at Milford High School as a national officer for Family, Career and Community Leaders of America.
Wittstruck said she joined FCCLA in eighth grade not knowing what the organization was about. She had other friends who were in FCCLA, so she wanted to be a part of the organization, too.
“I just joined FCCLA not really knowing what I would end up doing,” Wittstruck said.
Wittstruck competed in the interpersonal communications category of Students Taking Action with Recognition, or STAR, events.
Wittstruck’s projects focused in tattling versus telling, social media awareness and body image.
“That made me realize, once I started presenting in front of the judges, that this was something that I wanted to keep doing,” Wittstruck said.
Wittstruck said she quickly became passionate about the organization. Being the oldest of six kids, Wittstruck said the family aspect of FCCLA resonated with her.
Wittstruck said she was involved with the Families First national program. This program aims to teach kids how to be strong members of their families.
In 2015 a bylaw passed stating all National Leadership Conference attendees would wear red jackets, Wittstruck said. However, when she went her first FCCLA NLC only officers got to wear the red jackets.
“We made it from district to state level my eighth grade year. I realized that I wanted to do that. I wanted to be on stage. I wanted to wear the red jacket and I wanted to be at that level,” Wittstruck said.
She then began the long road to becoming a national officer. Wittstruck said in order to even begin the process, candidates have to hold office locally and be active at the state and national levels.
She served as state vice president last year, so she met that requirement.
Wittstruck worked closely with her adviser Joyce Potthoff to take the necessary steps to become national officer. Potthoff told MHS administrators of Wittstruck’s desire to become a national officer.
“One of the most important things is if you don’t have your administrative support you cannot go forward,” Potthoff said.
Once Wittstruck’s principal and other administrators were on board, she got to work on paperwork, applications, mock interviews and more.
“At state I had to go through an interview process and a test process at the state level. I also gave a speech in front of our whole state delegation at our state leadership conference in April,” Wittstruck said.
The Nebraska board of directors for FCCLA then had to approve her. After she was approved, she turned in her application to nationals and started the election process.
“There were 28 official national officer candidates at nationals when the election process started,” Wittstruck said.
Wittstruck is one of 10 who will serve on the national executive counsel.
“If this was easy, everyone would do it, and it’s not easy. It’s a lot of work,” Potthoff said.
Despite being involved in many other activities including band, dance team and musical, Wittstruck said it is important to her that she is involved in FCCLA.
“I feel like I owe it to the organization for giving me so many life skills,” Wittstruck said. “I like to think that I have become a different person especially though FCCLA.”
Wittstruck said she’s thinking of going to Concordia University in Seward for college. She wants to continue to be involved when she continues her education. She wants to major in biology in hopes of becoming a pediatrician someday.
She said she will continue to use what FCCLA has taught her even after she graduates.
“FCCLA is just something that I have become so passionate about, and I just want everyone to know about what it can do for members because it’s absolutely insane the impact that it can make,” Wittstruck said. “FCCLA is truly life-changing.”