Nebraska students have a strong history of providing leadership at both a state and national level in Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs). This year five Nebraska students are taking on national responsibilities and leadership roles in CTSOs.
Maddie Wittstruck from Milford Public Schools was elected as the FCCLA National Vice President of Finance. Maddie is very involved in her school and community. She is co-captain of the dance team and participates in theater, band, and choir. She is planning to go to medical school to become a pediatrician.
“Becoming a national officer for FCCLA has truly been a dream come true. As a new member in eighth grade I never would have imagined that someday I would be leading at the national level! It means so much to me that people understand my vision for FCCLA and that they elected me into my office. After working so hard every night to achieve this lofty position, it’s very rewarding to be able to serve over 175,000 members nationwide. I’ve learned so much during my term already. I’m glad I can share my knowledge and experience when talking about FCCLA. We provide so many opportunities for everyone. Whether it be in your family, community, or career, FCCLA touches many hearts, and I’m so excited to be a part of that!”
Jarod Harris from Seward High School is serving as the SkillsUSA Parliamentarian. Jarod has been the Seward SkillsUSA Chapter Vice-President and the SkillsUSA Nebraska State Reporter. Jarod is also active in speech, band, choir, and FBLA. His goal is to study chemical engineering after high school.
“My title as a SkillsUSA National Officer is truly a door-opener when it comes to the opportunities I will be afforded. In the short time that I’ve served as a national officer, I’ve flown to Louisville, Kentucky, and our nation’s capital. I’m leading 417,000 members to give them the best chance at reaching success. I’ve seen firsthand the impact organizations like SkillsUSA have had on students and I want to do my part to enhance that experience even more. Getting elected was a milestone in my life, but the adventure is only beginning. In the coming year I will help career and technical education students and SkillsUSA members unlock their potential and I’m ready to see the change I can foster.”
Drake Vorderstrasse from Adams Central High School was elected as the FBLA Mountain Plains Vice President. Drake has served various terms as a local officer and back-to-back terms as a state officer. He says the connections he has with fellow members are what make FBLA feel like home.
“Being able to call myself a national officer is something that doesn’t really feel real to me. If you told me my freshman year that I’d be a local officer, I would have called you crazy. I’ve always been an introverted kid that maybe sold himself short, but with opportunities like the ones that FBLA has presented to me, I kept on testing my limits until I became who I am today. If there’s one thing I’ve learned through my time in this organization it’s that the world is all about trying something new, leaving your comfort zone, and being willing to shake it up a little bit.”
DJ Hardwick, a Dundy County Stratton graduate, now at the University of Nebraska – Kearney, is the Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) Mountain Plains Vice President. DJ is studying Business, Marketing, and Information Technology Secondary Education with a minor in Educational Studies. He is planning to become a high school business teacher and FBLA adviser after graduation. This is his sixth year in the FBLA-PBL organization and has held many offices including Nebraska FBLA State President, Mountain Plains Regional Communications Director, and Nebraska PBL Vice President of Membership.
“I am honored to serve this year as the Phi Beta Lambda Mountain Plains Vice President. FBLA-PBL inspires and prepares students to become community-minded business leaders in a global society through relevant career preparation, leadership experiences, and community service engagement. I am grateful to have been elected to this position so I can give back to the organization that has helped develop me into the person I am today.”
Kylie Doupnik, a Harvard High School graduate now at Simpson College in Iowa was elected as the Phi Beta Lambda Parliamentarian. Kylie is a virtual chapter member in Nebraska. During high school, she was a four-year member of FBLA and two-year local chapter president. During her senior year she was a member of the Nebraska Parliamentary Procedure team, placing fourth at the FBLA National Leadership Conference. She is looking forward to forming a PBL chapter at her college this year.
These five students will be great representatives of Nebraska as they lead the nation this year. For more information about Nebraska’s Career and Technical Student Organizations visit: https://www.education.ne.gov/nce/career-technical-student-organizations-ctsos/