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FCCLA Cluster Meeting in Phoenix, AZ

“Overcome obstacles and make the best of life,” ... teaches inspirational speaker Matt Glowacki, who was born with no legs. He defeated Kayla O’Connell in a game of volleyball.

Three FCCLA students advisor Brigitte Brucklacher flew out of Rapid City for Phoenix on November 11 for a two-day convention. This was not a mandatory meeting, but an activity that members volunteered to attend. Each payed half of their expenses while the chapter payed the other half.

While there, the four stayed at the Hyatt Regency and attended FCCLA (Family, Career, Community Leaders of America) workshops in the Phoenix Convention Center.

The feature speaker was Matt Glowacki, who spoke about overcoming obstacles and making the best of life. Glowacki was born without legs. He is a member of the USA Paralympic Team for sit-volleyball and played in Sydney in 2000. He is also a rock climber. During the demonstration part of Glowacki's presentation, Kayla O'Connell was called onto the stage to play volleyball with him.

The other main presentation, called the Yellow Dress, addressed relationship violence by using a skit that portrayed a girl who was beaten to death by her boyfriend on prom night. This was followed by a group discussion about indications of relationship violence and its prevention.

This was one of the smaller conventions, though it brought together about 600 people. A regional meeting usually draws about 1,800 people. There are 8,000 FCCLA chapters and about 220,000 members in the United States. The Philip FCCLA chapter was the only chapter present representing South Dakota.

The girls attended numerous workshops and presentations, took in some sites and did a little shopping before returning home. "Everyone had a good time," said Brucklacher, "and it was a very beneficial experience.