by Johannes Brann
The student team of Charity Middleton and Avery Minor, soon to-be seniors at Northeast Vernon County R-1 School District High School in Walker (NEVC), walked away with a prestigious silver award in their team competition category at the national Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) convention in San Diego, Cal.
According to Laurie Bybee, NEVC’s Faculty Advisor for the school’s FCCLA and FBLA clubs, the school has previously had students qualify for nationals but this is the first time in school history where students have qualified for FCCLA and FBLA nationals the same year. She added that one of her students qualified for both competitions.
“And while my students think I’m pretty good at fixing a sleeve, a recipe or a presentation – I told them that since each group was holding their convention at the same time – there was no way for that one student to attend both since they were meeting some 2,000 miles apart,” said Bybee.
Meeting June 29-July 2, some 12,000 gathered under the theme “A world of Opportunity” at the FBLA convention in Chicago while about 7,000 were in San Diego as the FCCLA met under their “Make It Count!” theme.
Added Bybee, “Competing at the national level is quite challenging but handling the work of two makes me so proud of Emma; she handled it all like it was nothing and did a great job.”

Charity Middleton and Emma Bruce with their Missouri award.

Bruce’s mother happens to be an FBLA advisor at another area school and so the whole family took the train to Chicago and enjoyed a vacation in the Windy City. Bybee accompanied the pair of students to San Diego and having much experience at the district and state levels, was asked to serve as a judge in certain categories at the national competition.
Back on April 12, while competing at Missouri’s state FBLA convention in Springfield, the student team of Senior Emma Bruce and Junior Charity Middleton from Northeast Vernon County High School (NEVC) walked away with third place and automatic qualification to nationals.
The winning Missouri state FBLA presentation in the Social Media Strategies category focused on developing social media awareness, brand awareness and turning customers into advocates for a Nevada restaurant. In March, the Missouri state winning submission in FCCLA Event Management dealt with the NEVC Junior Class Pie Supper and Auction which annually raises thousands of dollars for the class.
Bruce was valedictorian and president of her graduating class.
Middleton was Missouri State FCCLA Vice-President of Community Service and will be Missouri State FCCLA President for the 2022-2023 school year.
Middleton, Bruce and Minor expressed their gratitude for Bybee as advisor for both clubs. Said Bruce, “While she makes us do the work, she keeps us on track, handles a million details and makes it fun.”