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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Rogers High School leadership club cooks up confidence

The creative juices were flowing last week at Rogers High School.

In Ashley Grow’s consumer science class, sophomore Aiden Maher was perfecting his chicken-and-mushroom-sauce dish and junior Stevie Morgan was devising ways to improve the student-run coffee shop across the hall.

Others sat at their desks, preparing for next week’s Family, Career and Community Leaders of America conference in Wenatchee.

All three have been well served in Grow’s FCCLA club, which is asked to come up with projects that relate to family, career or community.

A year ago, the group held a blanket drive at Rogers and distributed the blankets to homeless men and women in downtown Spokane.

Last fall, freshman RaeAnn Woods looked around, saw the need to offer affordable child care in the Hillyard area and held a low-cost activity night for children, freeing parents to do some much-needed holiday shopping.

“They were really grateful,” Woods said.

FCCLA is a national career and technical student organization that attempts to provide personal growth, leadership development and career preparation opportunities for students.

At Rogers, it’s a vehicle to build community and self-confidence.

Two years ago, Grow remembered Morgan as a shy freshman who “wasn’t sure what direction she wanted to go in.”

“But with FCCLA, this huge industry opened up to her,” Grow said. “She’s one of those success stories that you see, and she knows how to present herself.”

Morgan also has a culinary apprenticeship at the Davenport Grand, but her entrepreneurship has been stoked by the Pirate’s Perk coffee shop.

Morgan’s project included a top-to-bottom business evaluation of the coffee shop: evaluating inventory, making sure that supplies were always on hand and occasionally having those “difficult conversations” when a fellow student brewed the wrong concoction.

“To me, entrepreneurship means to excel not only mentally but also in the business world,” said Morgan, who also has been guided by DECA adviser Bryan Venema. DECA is an organization similarly oriented toward business leadership.

For Morgan, growing self-confidence shows in how she addresses a group of strangers.

“I love the communication aspect of FCCLA,” said Morgan, who was part of last year’s blanket drive for the homeless. “But I also love the community aspect, going out and helping the community.”

In the back of Grow’s class, Maher was keeping tabs on a pair of oversized chicken breasts. He knows the dish well, but so does the competition; everyone in Wenatchee will be making it.

“I’m not nervous,” said Maher, who three weeks ago competed against several other teams in a mock competition at Spokane Community College.

He faced them alone because partner Kimberly Esperum fell ill before the competition.

No problem: Maher still finished first.

“That was a great confidence builder,” he said.

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