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Taking the lead in FCCLA

Press Photo by Linda Sailer Belfield High School FCCLA advisor Paulette Dorval and senior Christian Anheluk look over his schedule of duties as national FCCLA vice president of parliamentary law on Sept. 2 at school.


Belfield High School senior Christian Anheluk will use his leadership skills this year to fulfill the duties as a national officer of the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America.

He was elected vice president of parliamentary law during the national leadership conference on July 7-11 at Nashville, Tenn. It will be his responsibility to assure that business sessions for the national organization and meetings of the National Executive Council are conducted according to parliamentary law.

FCCLA chapter advisor Paulette Dorval is excited about Anheluk's election to national office -- the first in her 34 years as an educator.

"I've had six national candidates and every candidate was an awesome student," she said. "Really, students don't come along very often with a combination of skills to make them successful as officers."

FCCLA was formed in 1945 to promote personal growth and leadership development through family and consumer sciences education.

Anheluk sees the national office as an opportunity to serve FCCLA.

"FCCLA has had a big impact on me," he said. "I wanted to leave my mark on it, just like it has left a mark on me. You can learn a lot of lessons from FCCLA. I wanted to give back."

Anheluk was introduced to FCCLA even as a small child when his mother and older siblings attended national events.

Dorval recruited Anheluk into Belfield's chapter while he was an eighth-grader. Through Students Taking Action with Recognition competitions, he won a national trip as a freshman to compete in junior parliamentary procedure. He won a second trip to nationals with an illustrated talk.

As a junior, he served as state first vice president. Then as an incoming senior, he ran for national office.

Anheluk submitted an application, wrote essays and gave a 3-minute talk before the national voting delegates in Nashville. The bylaws do not allow campaigning.

"The only campaign we could do was networking with the voting delegates," he said. "I shut down my Facebook to be very safe."

The election process narrowed down the 40 candidates to 20. Voting proceeded for the 10 officers of the National Executive Council. Notification was by a letter drop -- a moment of intensity, Anheluk said.

The council members determine which position the newly elected officers are best qualified. Anheluk expressed his interest in parliamentary law and was selected.

Anheluk and Dorval recently returned from Portland, Ore., where they attended the National Association of Parliamentarians convention.

"It's a learning experience -- we learn about parliamentary law and I expect to speak a little bit," he said prior to the convention.

Anheluk's schedule is full -- he will attend a capital leadership conference at the end of September in Washington, D.C.; followed by a national cluster meeting in Omaha, Neb., in November; and planning for next year's national leadership conference at San Antonio, Texas, in December. Throughout the spring, he expects to participate in numerous state conferences and workshops. The year concludes next July when delegates return to San Antonio for the national conference.

"It's our job as a National Executive Council to clarify national outreach projects and to inspire the members," he said.

This year's national outreach projects include "Share Our Strength," Autism Speaks" and Operation Homefront.

Operation Homefront, for example, focuses on educating people how to eat healthy and eat on a budget, he said.

North Dakota's state outreach project is the "Children's Miracle Network."

Anheluk said the opportunity to serve at a national level wasn't something he accomplished alone.

He credits his parents, Jerry and Jackie Anheluk, and the community for their support.

"I'm from Belfield and this is the place where I started," He said. "Don't recognize me, recognize the people of the community."