Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) brought more than 7,500 of its student leaders, members and advisers to Nashville, Tenn., from  July 2 through 6 to participate in its National Leadership Conference and STAR competition.
Nebraska was well represented by more than 250 students, advisers and guests.
Participating in the conference from Nebraska City were Tara Stelling, Whitney Parker, Jillian Karl, Renae Stelling, Janice Parker, and Mary Johnson.
The conference provided opportunities for students and advisers to come together to learn about new initiatives in the organization, hear inspiring speakers, as well as expand leadership skills, sharpen talents and explore career pathways.
The theme this year was “Unlimited Possibilities” and attendees were challenged to discover and grow their potential to make change in their local communities, schools and families.
In addition to the many learning and networking experiences offered at the conference, more than 30 Family and Consumer Science related events, also known as STAR Events (Students Taking Action with Recognition) were offered.
Nebraska came home with 94 gold medals, 37 silver medals and 10 bronze medals.
Tara Stelling, Whitney Parker and Jillian Karl competed in the senior division Food Innovation category.
Food Innovation allows participants to demonstrate basic concepts of a food product developed by creating an original prototype formula, testing the product through focus groups and developing a marketing strategy.
The ladies created a high protein-low sugar Greek yogurt to replenish the body following athletic workouts.
“Kratos Proyo” was perfected after numerous attempts with recipe adjustments and stability studies.
Stelling, Parker and Karl were rewarded for their diligent work by receiving a gold medal at the national competition.
The dedicated team of young women were also recognized with the distinction of placing second in the nation in the Food Innovations, senior division category.  their project earned 97.33 points on a 100 point scale.
“I am completely proud of Tara, Whitney and Jillian,” said FCCLA Advisor Mary Johnson. “They were passionate about winning the right to compete at national FCCLA competition.”
“Moving on to the national competition is a big deal,” said Johnson. “Being second in the nation at national STAR competition is proof of their hard work, dedication, intelligence, and perseverance. They are truly amazing young ladies with bright futures.”
The community is invited to participate in a fundraiser on July 27 from 5 to 9 p.m. at El Portal in Nebraska City. The ladies are still fundraising the cost of their memorable experience.
“This is a wonderful way to end a 35-year teaching career,” said Johnson.
“It’s been a pleasure working with our local youth and helping them achieve their goals,” she said.
“Thank you to the community for your support of FCCLA. It is always appreciated.”