STRASBURG – Paige Hiserman had experience, but she still wasn't completely sure how she would do in this year's Family Career and Community Leaders of America national skills demonstration competition.
For the second straight year, the Strasburg freshman took first place in the Knowledge Challenge Test.
"It gives me a lot of confidence that I love this organization and I know a lot," Paige said. "I can do a lot in it as well. It's very satisfying."
Last year, Paige won first place in the Knowledge Challenge Test at level 1, which is for middle-schoolers. This year she won first place at Level 2, which is for ninth- and 10th-graders.
Paige's mother, Heather, is her teacher and said that she warned Paige it might be tougher this year.
"When she signed up for it, I said keep in mind that these are ninth- and 10th-graders," Heather Hiserman said. "So you've got a little bit higher level of competition."
The FCCLA skill demonstration events happen every year and there are many different types of competition. This year's were all online and held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There were 386 students who competed nationally.
Paige said that last year she competed in Dallas, Texas, at a fall national meeting and after she won she got to go up on stage. She said this year's winners were announced through social media pages.
Paige said there's no way to know what the questions are going to be ahead of time, which makes it challenging. She said there were around 100 questions and contestants only had 45 minutes to take the test.
"It is basically just a test filled with everything about FCCLA, from colors to purposes, the motto, pretty much everything about it," Paige said.
She said she wasn't sure how many people she was competing against, but last year there were over 20 in the competition.
Paige said it helped that she won first place last year.
"It wasn't as nerve-racking knowing that I'd done it before," she said. "It gave me some hope that I've already done this before. It's not as nerve-racking as last time. Most of the questions were pretty simple."
Paige is serving as an FCCLA state officer this year. She is the vice president of parliamentary procedures.
Heather Hiserman said that Paige being a state officer helped her for the test.
"She had to study a lot about FCCLA to run for a state office so I think that really helped her," Heather Hiserman said. "So a lot of what she's doing now is just really building on what she already knew. Obviously, it benefited her from being around FCCLA her whole life. So there's some things that she's just kind of learned as she's grown up. So I'm sure that helps for her to be familiar with it."
Heather Hiserman said that Paige and the rest of the state officers, which includes Central junior Cheyenne Estep, will have a winter executive council meeting in Waynesboro next weekend. She said they will be meeting in-person for the first time to decide how to hold the virtual state conference in April.
"They've only been virtual," Heather Hiserman said of the meetings. "That's going to be fun because we finally get to be in the same vicinity. There's still lots and lots of protocols that we have to follow, but we'll start the process of reading the scripts and creating the activities and deciding on how we'll schedule and all that. So that's nice to finally be a little bit normal for all these kids. They've missed out on so much, because they're elected and they have all these high hopes for what it's going to be like and it just hasn't."
The following are other Shenandoah County winners in the FCCLA skill demonstration events"
Peter Muhlenburg Middle School
Early childhood challenge test: Ava Kingree (sixth grade, second place); Caroline Eye (sixth grade, fifth); Makenna Hartwig (fifth grade, sixth). Nutrition challenge test: Adysen Silvious (seventh grade, second). Consumer math challenge test: Elizabeth Whetzel (seventh grade, third).
Stonewall Jackson Middle School
Fall flyer contest: Rebecca Diehl (12th grade) Kylene Franklin (12th grade), Emily Poole (12th grade) and Charlotte Weaver (10th grade). Culinary contest: Charlotte Weaver (10th grade).