Jones Senior student headed to national competition

Jones Senior student headed to national competition

Alexia Machado qualified in April to represent North Carolina at FCCLA nationals in July. From left, Jones Senior Family and Consumer Sciences teacher Debara Blackwell; Alexia Machado; and Jones County Career and Technical Education Director Barbara Lee. Photo by Catherine Hardee / Neuse News

A Jones County teen is headed to a national competition this summer.

Alexia Machado, a rising junior at Jones Senior HIgh School, is a member of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA).

According to the national organization’s website, the mission of FCCLA is “to promote personal growth and leadership development through Family and Consumer Sciences education. Focusing on the multiple roles of family member, wage earner and community leader, members develop skills for life through: character development, creative and critical thinking, interpersonal communication, practical knowledge, and career preparation.”

The Jones Senior FCCLA team is, from left, Anyssa Blanc, Anna Fair, Jaykiah Roberts, Alexia Machado, Anthony Hyland. Submitted Photo

Machado and four other students from Jones Senior competed in the State Leadership Conference in Greensboro in April. It was the first time students from Jones Senior had competed at the state level. Machado took first place in the state in the “Teach and Train” category.

“I had to conduct an interview with a teacher,” Machado said. “The project is about showing different parts of the classroom and what it takes to get to a teaching degree and the different steps you have to take.”

Competing at the state level for the first time was intimidating, Machado said, coming from a small county without a tradition of competition. That made it especially gratifying, she said, when she qualified to go to nationals, another first for Jones County.

“It’s just a wonderful feeling. I have a lot of gratitude toward everyone for supporting me and helping me to get to this,” Machado said.  

Debara Blackwell, Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher at Jones Senior, is the faculty advisor for FCCLA at the school. She accompanied Machado and the other students to Greensboro.

“I’m more than proud,” Blackwell said. “I’m not shocked, because I knew she was capable of doing well.”

Blackwell will accompany Machado to the FCCLA National Leadership Conference in Anaheim, Calif. on June 30. Blackwell said she is excited for the trip, but more excited that Machado has the opportunity to represent Jones County at the national level and to network with her peers.

Machado said she is “over the moon” with excitement for the trip, but there is some nervousness as well. She said she has spent the time since the state competition polishing her presentation and conducting additional research to improve and make sure she does her absolute best when she competes in California.

“I won with a lower score than I could have gotten, so I know I need to work harder and put more effort into this,” Machado said. “I’m hoping to come home and have brought a lot of glory to Jones County.”

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