National Family, Career, & Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) recently released the names of FCCLA members who earned the top scores on their STAR (Students Taking Action with Recognition) events at the FCCLA National Leadership Conference in Anaheim, Calif.

In the STAR Event category, Nutrition and Wellness, WDC junior Angela LeComte received a score of 99.3/100 -- the highest score earned by any competitor in the Nutrition and Wellness event. Angela is the secretary for the WDC FCCLA chapter.

Angela created a nutrition and activity plan for her grandparents. They agreed to follow the diet and activity plan and journal their progress. Angela’s plan proved to be successful as it helped her grandparents reach important health goals.

Angela shared that wellness and nutrition is something a little different from her career path, which is more in the realm of business. Angela's mother is a nurse at Lakewood Health and a visit to an event there got her thinking about a project related to health. The event was about diabetes and it just so happens she wanted to learn more about the disease, especially since her grandpa has Type 2 diabetes.

"I kind of wanted to learn and have more of an understanding of what diabetes is," LeComte said.

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She started her project last winter, which involved tracking the daily nutritional intake and physical activity of her and her grandparents, Tom and Mary LeComte. She made tracking sheets for them to easily track where they were at and than review whether they were eating too much sodium or sugar. Her grandpa got even further tracking of his AM and PM sugar levels.

"I know my grandpa was struggling to track his blood sugars and they both wanted to keep their weight down also," Angela said.

At first they just did their normal activities and over the next four weeks began making small changes. An area of wellness that seemed simple enough was water intake. Angela found that her grandparents were needing to increase their water drinking. Angela also used an app called "Lose It" during this project. It provided help showing dietary differences between homemade, boxed and restaurant foods. Her grandpa Tom said the tracking work Angela set for them worked very well.

"At our age, there wasn't a lot of exercise involved," Tom LeComte said. "It was mostly about how much we ate."

Tom, 72, said it was hard to change the habits of what they were eating, but tracking everything made them keenly aware of how much they were eating compared with how much they should be eating.

"I knew I was getting heavier than I wanted," he said.

The diet change helped him quickly drop 20 pounds, and he plans to lose a little more. He said the couple plans to continue the tracking, of course, they'd do anything for their only granddaughter.

While Angela was pleased to do well and receive recognition at the national level, she's also pleased to have been able to help her family.

"It gave me a better understanding of what my grandpa has been going through with diabetes," Angela said.

Angela has an opportunity to choose another STAR event this year, which she will be selecting soon.

FCCLA Advisor Cindi Koll told Angela when she completed her project, "this is what FCCLA is all about."

What's a STAR event?

Students Taking Action with Recognition (STAR) Events are Competitive Events in which members compete at the region/district, state, and national level and are recognized for proficiency and achievement in chapter and individual projects, leadership skills, and career preparation. STAR Events allow students to compete individually or as a team. There are more than 30 STAR Events students can choose to compete in, all which recognize participants who demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and abilities to actively identify an issue concerning families, careers, or communities, research the topic, and develop and implement a project to advocate for positive change.