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Cove student takes silver medal at national conference

Special to Leader-Press
It’s been four years since Serena Villa started her anti-bullying campaign at Copperas Cove High School. She has seen bullying rates reduced in her school and a more cohesive, inclusive student body. For Serena, these measurable results were reward enough. “Fortunately, I was never bullied myself. However I did witness this behavior in my community and decided that I was going to do what I could to change it,” Villa said. “Through my project, I was able to effectively educate several members in my community from the high school all the way down to the elementary schools. I’m incredibly proud of the positivity that I’ve had the pleasure of watching form.” But, the judges at the National Family, Career and Community Leaders of America Conference believed Villa’s extensive program deserved public recognition and awarded her a silver medal in the Advocacy category on stage the final day of the conference held in Washington, DC. “Winning the silver medal was such a huge accomplishment to me. I was so excited to be able to walk across the stage and receive my award. It was amazing to see that all of my hard work had paid off,” she said. “I’m happy to have won, but it is a reminder that my time with FCCLA is ending. This organization has provided many necessary skills and incredible experiences growthfor me and I am very sad to leave it.” Approximately 10,000 students attended the conference this year. Although Villa did not compete against 10,000 others in her event, she did have to prove herself against other competitors from all 50 states. “I was very composed during my presentation. I know my project like the back of my hand, so I wasn’t nervous about presenting it. It went smoothly,” she said. For the past four years, Villa hosted multiple bullying prevention efforts at CCHS and at several elementary schools including executing the Hand Someone a Compliment project during Bullying Prevention Week. CCHS FCCLA Adviser Jana Shurtleff said she was very eager throughout the week of the conference to learn how the judges scored Serena’s program but was confident she had done an excellent job. “Over the course of her high school career, Serena has proven herself over and over as her passion for making a difference in her school and community has bubbled out through her kind and sincere personality,” Shurtleff said. “I have never known anyone who has ever been so eager to serve others by example with her genuine kindness.” CCHS had a team at last year’s national conference that was also awarded a silver medal, but Villa is the first individual from the school to receive a silver medal. Villa will attend Texas State University next month working toward a psychology degree to become a child and adolescent psychologist.

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