It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, especially in the teacher education class at the Jordan Applied Technology Center in West Jordan. The 19 high school students are all members of the Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America and decided to donate a Christmas tree and a gingerbread house to the Festival of Trees, held at the Sandy Expo Center from Dec. 3-6.
“Because this is a teacher education program and because these students want to be either general or special education teachers, and because this helps Primary Children’s Hospital, that’s a great connection,” teacher and FCCLA advisor Kaylene White said. “We decided to do this as part of our FCCLA service project.”
JATC students put the final decorations on the tree (right) to get ready for the Festival.
The white Christmas tree titled “Candy Cane Christmas” is decorated in red, white and green decorations and is surrounded by a big candy cane fence. The gingerbread house, made by four of the students is called “The Candy Cane Palace” and shares the color scheme of the tree. Both were available for purchase at the Festival of Trees.
The students met at White’s Holladay home to bake and assemble the gingerbread house.
“We voted on doing a gingerbread house, so we got put in charge of doing it,” Rachel Miller said of their cinnamon-scented creation. “We’re going to see if we can keep it together with hot glue, but it will definitely smell good.” The students each made a batch of gingerbread and donated bags of candy to use for decoration.
The tree was also provided as a donation and came from the JATC.
“Our principal, Chris Titus, purchased our tree and FCCLA purchased the decorations,” White said. “We could use our budget for other things, but we choose to use it for this. Some people spend thousands on a tree. We spend a couple hundred dollars, but we probably triple what we spend when the tree is purchased.”
McKinzie Burgess is the FCCLA public relations officer and is in charge of their Festival of Trees participation this year.
“It’s a little stressful and all, but it’s fun and actually gets me more in the spirit of Christmas,” Burgess said. “We decided to do a white tree instead of the traditional green to bring out all the white, red and green decorations. We are super excited to be part of this.”
Teacher education students at the Jordan Applied Technology Center donated a tree and a gingerbread house to this year’s Festival of Trees.
Every year, members of the FCCLA compete against other schools in STAR events (Students Taking Action with Recognition), which includes doing projects and service in the community. These events help develop leadership skills and career preparation as a team and as an individual.
“The Festival of Trees is part of our community service for our regional STAR competition in February,” White said.
This is the fourth year that this class has participated in the Festival of Trees. The students help by choosing and assembling the tree and decorations, making the gingerbread house from scratch and advertising the event around the campus of the JATC.
“We are trying to become teachers so we want to show that we’re here, we want to be here, we want to make a difference in the world,” Burgess said.
Because every student in the JATC teacher education class is a member of FCCLA, they work together to accomplish their service projects.
“We’re a really small chapter, comparatively speaking,” FCCLA President Tia Carlile said. “Other high schools can draw from the whole school; we can only draw from this class.”
Each student goes to their respective high schools in the morning, then comes to the JATC in the afternoon for their courses, for which they get 13 concurrent college credits when they graduate.
“We’re required to do a general and a special ed. practicum, and each quarter, we get to choose if we want to go to a middle school or elementary,” FCCLA Treasurer Kadie Young said.
This helps the students narrow down the field they’d like to pursue after graduation by giving them hands-on classroom experience.
“Before they get to college, they know if they want to be a teacher at all or if they want to do elementary or secondary education, general or special education,” White said.
FCCLA helps them with the real-life application of serving the community, especially with a big project like the Festival of Trees.
“We really all just work together to get it done,” Carlile said.
The students went to the Expo Center on Dec. 1 to set up the tree display and the gingerbread house, then attended the Festival of Trees as a group on Dec. 3.