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NUHS Parliamentary Procedure Team earns gold at Nationals

Members of the New Ulm High School Parliamentary Procedure team are pictured above in a Zoom portrait. On top, from left, are Isaiah Rainwater, Bethany Janssen and Lexi Schneider. Below are Nathaniel Janssen and Victoria Zacate. The team took a gold medal in the National FCCLA Parliamentary Procedure competition in July.

NEW ULM — The New Ulm High School FCCLA Parliamentary Procedure team was recently notified that it earned a gold medal at the national level of competition.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, FCCLA elected to hold its National Leadership Conference and National STAR (Students Taking Action with Recognition) Event competition virtually. Unlike many schools and companies across the nation, FCCLA did not do live Zoom judging sessions. Rather, it allowed students to create a video of their presentation, submitting both the video and copies of their project materials and/or photos for the judges to evaluate. For most STAR events, competing virtually involves one or two students submitting a video of their presentation and their materials.

Parliamentary Procedure was a little more challenging. This event requires students to conduct a mock meeting following Robert’s Rules of order. A list of required components was given to the students ahead of time so they could incorporate the required components into their mock meeting. The challenge was that there were five team members, and because of the pandemic, members were not allowed to be in the same room for this meeting. This meant that all five had to separately connect via Zoom, record the meeting, and then submit that video. The challenge was when they had to recite the FCCLA creed simultaneously. Technology isn’t perfect, so there is a lag between responses, which created echoes every time they had to pass or deny motions or recite something together.

Parliamentary Procedure is one of the most difficult STAR events. The average person isn’t familiar with proper use of Robert’s Rules of Order. Some of the required items that students had to demonstrate in their meeting included Proper use of Parliamentary Law, Proper Recognition of Chair and Members, Agenda, Motions & Amending Motions, Points of Order, Division of the Assembly, Postponement, Referring Items to a Committee, Laying on the Table, and Question of Privilege. Judges who evaluate the Parliamentary Procedure event are certified by the National Parliamentarian’s Association and are well versed in Robert’s Rules of Order. That is what makes this event one of the toughest to earn high marks in. The New Ulm team earned a 91.5 out of 100 possible points, which gave them a gold medal.

The New Ulm Parli Pro team was comprised of five New Ulm High School and Middle School students: Bethany Janssen (senior), Isaiah Rainwater (junior), Victoria Zacate (junior), Nathaniel Janssen (freshman), and Lexi-Lynn Schneider (8th grade). Students began practicing in November, writing their meeting script and memorizing their parts. They competed at the regional competition in January, earning the right to advance to the state level competition. COVID-19 prevented them from competing at the state level, as the state FCCLA conference and STAR event competition was canceled. But after state level judges evaluated their region scores, it was determined that the team had earned enough points to qualify for the national competition, which was supposed to take place in Washington, D.C. in early July. Once again, due to COVID-19, the national competition went virtual, and the students continued to practice via Zoom and eventually recorded and submitted their meeting for competition at the national level. Once all teams were evaluated by members of the National Parliamentarian’s Association, they were notified that they had earned a gold medal.

New Ulm students have the privilege of having a local member of the National Parliamentarian’s Association to help coach them. Mrs. Jill Curry has coached and judged Parliamentary Procedure teams for FCCLA for over 30 years. She has judged at all levels of the competition and is a resource for Minnesota FCCLA when it comes to running a Parliamentary Procedure competition. She has coached successful NUHS teams as well as judged at the national level and been a national consultant for Parliamentary Procedure events. Her expertise has helped numerous teams succeed at all competition levels.

FCCLA is a student led organization whose central focus is family. FCCLA is the only student led organization to have family as the central focus. FCCLA has over 175,000 members in more than 5,300 chapters in all 50 states, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Members develop skills for life through character development, creative and critical thinking, interpersonal communication, practical knowledge and career preparation. FCCLA members participate in a variety of STAR and Skill Events to prepare them for adult life. New Ulm FCCLA has a history of successful Parliamentary Procedure teams and has taught this skill to many students. Next year’s National Conference is expected to be held in Nashville, TN. There are numerous opportunities for students to compete as teams or individuals in STAR events. Students are welcome to join FCCLA in grades 6-12. For more information on FCCLA, please contact NUHS FCCLA adviser Dave Janssen at djanssen@newulm.k12.mn.us.

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