Tulsa Tech Students Win National Scholarships

This summer, Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), members from across the country gathered in San Diego to network with fellow students, attend program workshops, leadership sessions, and compete in events related to their careers.

Tulsa Tech is proud to announce that three Interior Design students, Beth Penrice, David Byrd, and Sarah Elliott, all returned home with national honors and scholarships in hand. After capturing the top title in their division, this creative team were both happy, and surprised, as their names were announced as national winners.


Beth Penrice, a senior at Broken Arrow High School, knew exactly what she had just heard, but was unable to move.

“I heard them announce our names and I just kind of stood there,” Penrice laughed. “I knew how excited I was, how proud I was for our Team, but I couldn’t move.”

The interior design team arrived in California prepared to compete in a FCCLA STAR Event (Students Taking Action with Recognition). These events are competitive events in which members are recognized for achievement in projects, leadership skills, and career preparation. STAR Events offer both individual skill development and application of learning through many activities.

“For our competition, we were asked to develop a concept for a second-story apartment suite, owned by a camp director,” Penrice explained. “Our concept, ‘Camp Off Grid’, encouraged people to spend less time with electronics, and appreciate the environment around them. We also utilized several recycled materials in our design, and that seemed to work very well with our overall concept.”

As the first place team in the nation, each student was awarded a $3000 scholarship from the Art Institutes of America, plus a $1500 per semester scholarship from the San Diego Art institute. Mrs. Jennifer Alpe, Tulsa Tech’s Interior Design Instructor, strongly supports her student’s involvement in FCCLA, and is extremely proud of this team’s recent accomplishments.

“They did an outstanding job on this contest,” Alpe said. “They were able to present design information that many college students don’t learn until their sophomore/junior year of design school. I was very proud they won. There were over 35 teams from around the country, and this was a very difficult project.”
David Byrd, a senior at Union High School who specializes in furnishings, feels the victory validates his creativity and career choice.

“I have always loved furnishings, it’s my favorite part of the design,” Byrd said. “And being able to compete at this level, contribute to this team, just proves that all of the hard work, all of the desire, have been worth it.”

Union High School senior, Sarah Elliott, and campus FCCLA Chapter President, feels the national title was the perfect capstone to a perfect year.
“We are like a big family in Mrs. Alpe’s class,” Elliott said. “I’ll always remember this national convention, how hard we worked together to win, and the crazy schedule, with each of us literally falling asleep, fully dressed on the floor. It was so much fun and really an amazing experience.”

To find out more about FCCLA, visit fcclainc.org. If you’re currently looking for quality business and industry training, exciting classes for high school students, or wish to design a life-changing career, Tulsa Tech invites you to visit today. For more information, please call 918-828-5000 or visit us online at www.tulsatech.edu.

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