FLEMINGTON, NJ - Students in Hunterdon County Polytech’s Teacher Academy and Early Childhood Education programs made a name for themselves – and their school – at this year’s NJ FCCLA State Leadership Conference, held recently in Cherry Hill,

All eight of the school’s participants won gold. Seven of them won in categories that qualify them for nationals, and one team earned a perfect score in its category.

Polytech’s FCCLA Chapter also earned recognition as a Red Rose Chapter, a designation bestowed on only five out of 54 chapters in New Jersey for excellence in leadership and community service. The chapter put together an application highlighting activities throughout the academic year, student reflections and goals and impact on the community. Polytech’s members went above and beyond this year in terms of service, from hosting a canned food drive to making and donating blankets to sick children through the organization Derek’s Hugs.

Sign Up for E-News

Individuals from Polytech who garnered recognition at the conference included the team of Teacher Academy students Casey BradyErin Devine and Justin Eannone, who earned first place gold in the Focus on Children category; Early Childhood student Rosa Castaldo, who earned first place gold in the Early Childhood, Post-Secondary Level category; Early Childhood student Olivia Melick, who earned first place gold in the Early Childhood, Occupational category; the team of Early Childhood students Haley Chifla and Morgan Murphy, who earned first place gold and a perfect score in the Chapter Service Project Display category; and Early Childhood student Fran Brunetti, who earned first place gold in the Storybook Ethics category.

All of Polytech’s gold medal winners, with the exception of Fran Brunetti who competed in a state-only event, will move on to compete at the 2019 National Leadership Conference this summer in Anaheim, Calif. The National Conference of the Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) will not only include the competition, but also workshops, specialized trainings and leadership opportunities for participants.

“I could not be more proud of our Polytech students for their exceptional performances at the state FCCLA conference,” said Natalie Guarino, Early Childhood and Teacher Academy instructor and advisor for Polytech’s FCCLA Chapter. “Our teachers and our students see value in FCCLA and embrace ways to tie family and career together and develop leaders in the community. Our perfect score earners, Haley and Morgan, are perfect examples of how our students grow as leaders through their involvement in FCCLA.”

Haley and Morgan earned their perfect score in the Chapter Service Project Display category for their efforts to partner with the Crayola Factory to recycle dried-up markers. They organized collection sites across the county, which resulted in 1,400 markers to donate to Crayola. The company converts them into other materials, including fuel. The duo’s project also included teaching lessons to preschoolers and high school students about the importance of recycling.

Hunterdon County Polytech Career and Technical School is the largest component of Hunterdon County Vocational School District (HCVSD). Polytech is the district’s shared-time high school that prepares students for a seamless transition to college and career paths.