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Belton High School (BHS) student Ashley Ficker is bringing home a gold medal from the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) National Leadership Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Ficker took first place in the Interior Design category and was awarded a $3,000 scholarship to The Art Institute, along with a full scholarship to the summer seminar at the prestigious Savannah College of Art and Design.

In the Interior Design competition, students are required to create a floor plan and an elevation addressing the specifics of a design scenario given by FCCLA. Those materials are then showcased on visuals, prepared in advance, during an oral presentation before a group of judges at the conference.

To qualify for nationals, students have to win their respective state competitions. Although Ficker had previously advanced to the state competition, this year represents the first time she has finished in first place at both the state and national competitions.

BHS instructor and FCCLA sponsor Milissa Beechem, who traveled with Ficker to Atlanta, was overjoyed at her student’s success.

“It has been a pleasure working with Ashley these last two years,” Beechem said. “I am extremely proud of the dedication and hard work she has shown in my classes and the long hours she put in beyond that to achieve a national gold medal finish. It’s very rewarding to see that level of commitment pay off.”

Superintendent Susan Kincannon celebrated Ficker’s national achievement saying, “I want to congratulate Ashley for her hard work, both in and out of the classroom. Winning a gold medal at a national competition is a tremendous accomplishment. Ashley and our Career and Technical Education instructor are to be commended.”