For Youth – Mikayla’s Story

MIKAYLA GOES TO THE NATIONALS
Hi, I’m Mikayla Fahey. I am in White Mountains Regional High School Spartans FCCLA. FCCLA is Family Community and Careers Leaders of America. Every year, FCCLA students have an opportunity to do a project and compete at the state competition.

My project was on Dementia. I went on-line to Google. I typed “Alzheimer’s for kids” and “dementia for teens”. I printed information from the websites. I highlighted information I wanted to put in my presentation. I made a display board. I wrote a 10 minute speech.

My Uncle Larry developed dementia 4 years ago. I wanted to understand what’s going on with him. My goal was to learn about dementia and teach family and friends about it. I learned there is no cure for dementia right now, but Doctors are working for a cure they hope will reduce the amyloid plaques (which they think causes dementia) using a vaccine. I learned Alzheimer’s disease can be a scary diagnosis for patients, their families, and especially children. I came up with some things kids can do to help people with dementia.. like clean the house, feed their pets or make their beds. I helped my Uncle Larry by telling him I love him, give him big hugs, make him breakfast and help him choose his clothes. My dream is to go into the medical field and find a cure for dementia. I want to do work on a clinical trial. One of the tests would be to repeat the words … house, cabin, spoon and count backwards from 100 to 7. To help me with my goal, I am taking Child Development and Financial Literacy classes this year in high school.

I won a silver medal at the NH FCCLA Spring Conference. I qualified to go the National FCCLA Competition in Nashville, Tennessee. Our trip started on July 5th at 5:00am. Wow, it was so early! Mom and I drove to Manchester Airport to meet my FCCLA teammates, Jillian McCreedy and Emily Cook and our Advisors Mrs. Laroche and Mrs. LeBlanc. On the airplane I listened to music and played Doctor with my Mom. We arrived at the hotel about 1:00pm. We all walked to Logan’s Roadhouse to eat. When we came out it was pouring rain, so we got really wet.

That afternoon we took a shuttle to the Conference Center at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel. It was so beautiful and big. Mom and I walked down the big staircase like we were Queens greeting our people.
On Tuesday, I got really nervous. My stomach was upset. My presentation time was at 11:30am. I carried my display board and set it up in front of the judges. I felt calmer. The judges were smiling and looking at me and listening to me. The judges asked me some questions and said they liked my presentation.
At the Closing Ceremony I got a GOLD MEDAL!!!! My Mom cried when I came off the stage. I felt happy and relieved. Everyone said things like “great job” and “congratulations”. I felt supported.
The last night of our stay we ate at Rainforest Café. I thought it was creepy because all the fake animals were noisy. The coconut covered shrimp was good.

One word to describe my experience was FUN. I enjoyed going to the Grand Ole Opry. My favorite part was hanging out with my friends and having a good time. I also learned a lot of new information by exploring the other student’s display boards. This gave me many ideas for next year’s project. I loved hanging out with my teachers and friends, and the most important person in my life, my Mom. It is a wonderful thing.
When I got home, my Dad had Welcome Home and Congratulations signs everywhere. He planned a surprise macaroni and cheese dinner. The local newspaper ran a story on me and my Spartan teammates. When Dad and I hiked up Mt. Prospect, a lot of people talked about seeing my in the paper and gave me hugs.


Additional Note: Mikayla and her Mom, Mollie White were also the driving force that led to NH’s minimum standards being revised and an updated memo being issued by the NH Department of Education to clarify the right of students with disabilities to attend career and technical education (CTE) programs, and to receive the accommodations and/or modifications they need to participate in the program and to achieve their annual goals. After Mikayla’s was excluded from a CTE program because of her status as a student with a disability, Mollie reached out to staff of the Parent Information Center (PIC) and the Disability Rights Center-NH for help. Mollie later wrote in a letter to PIC, ““Without the NH Parent Information Center supporting and helping me advocate for my child … high school students in New Hampshire with disabilities would continue to be denied access to CTE programs and classes.”

The NH Department of Education’s FY 14 Memo #32, Enrolling students with Disabilities in a Career and Technical Education Center (CTE) may be found on the NH Department of Education’s website at: http://www.education.nh.gov/instruction/special_ed/documents/fy14_memo_32_enrolling_student_cte.pdf