LAKE STEVENS — Grace Fortney, 18, is a senior at Lake Stevens High School. She’s a state officer for Family, Career and Community Leaders of America. She created a public service announcement about seat belt safety that was named the best video in a national contest.
Question: Can you tell me about FCCLA and what you do?
Answer: Well, I started in FCCLA when I was a freshman at Cavelero Mid High. My health teacher was asking the entire class to join FCCLA, and I thought, well, that looks like it would be fun and look good on a college application. That’s why I initially joined. But I stayed with it because I really love the opportunities I get for leadership, community service and traveling.
Q: What activities do you do in FCCLA?
A: We do a lot of different activities. We do community service. We did a cookie bake fundraiser, which was a lot of fun. We do STAR events, which are Students Taking Action with Recognition. There’s a whole bunch of categories and events that you can do. I personally did recycle and redesign. I took glass bottles and made a mosaic type art piece out of them. We travel a lot. We hold regional meetings, state meetings and national meetings. It’s a lot of fun.
Q: You’re also involved at the state level. What’s your role there?
A: This past year, from 2017 to 2018, I was the state secretary. I took minutes at all of our meetings and helped run the state leadership conference that happened early in March.
Q: You made a video for a public service announcement. Can you tell me what that was like?
A: So the Safe Rides Save Lives video PSA contest was about teen traffic safety. The theme for this year was seat belt safety. I ended up watching the video that won last year and … I thought, ‘Wow. That’s really inspiring. I want to be able to do that.’ So I went home and I started working on an idea that I had. I constructed it around the idea of ‘What can you do in three seconds?’ It had to appeal to the teen audience, so I did things that teens normally would do, like texting or laughing with friends. And I said you can do these, or you can buckle your seat belt in three seconds, because if you don’t, you won’t get the chance to do any of these.
Q: That ended up being an award-winning video.
A: When I submitted the video, I had no experience making these kinds of things before. I just kind of did it for the opportunity and I wasn’t expecting it at all. I was sitting in class, fifth period, Mrs. (Kathy) Hahn’s careers in education class. She got the call from nationals and they said I had won and she was screaming with joy.
Q: What are some of the other things you’re involved with at school?
A: I’m involved with a lot of things. I was founder and former president of Harry Potter Club. I do (student government). I’m a senior senator. Link Crew, which is our sophomore orientation. FCCLA, mainly … Recently I joined Anime Club, which I was really afraid to do, but I’m glad I did because I met a lot of new people who share the same interests as me.
Q: What do you do in Harry Potter Club? Do you play Quidditch?
A: We have, actually. We do a lot of crafts. We just made butterbeer. We watch movies. Last year, we ordered the supplies to play Quidditch, and we played it at our Spring Fling activities thing at the end of the year.
Q: Have you made plans for where you’re headed next year?
A: I’m planning on attending Montana State University in the fall. I’m really excited. I want to be a high school English teacher.
Q: Why an English teacher?
A: I’ve known for a very long time that I want to be a teacher. I really like working with kids. I’m in careers in education. I was in child development before that. Just recently I decided that elementary wasn’t the best for me, so I turned to high school. English is my strongest subject. I really like writing and reading. I also want to be a writer.
Q: What do you want to write?
A: I like young adult fiction … J.K. Rowling is definitely my role model.
Q: What would you say has been your biggest challenge?
A: I’d have to say getting myself to apply to be a state officer. When I was a sophomore, I attended the state leadership conference and saw people in their fancy red jackets and I thought it looked like a lot of fun. I decided to apply when I was a junior, but I was also doing a lot of other activities and taking hard classes. I ended up falling back and not wanting to do it. My adviser pushed me and I ended up applying and really enjoying it and meeting an amazing group of students that I have had an amazing year with.
Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; email@example.com