First place win at State Competition doesn’t come easy


photo submitted

Senior Makaio Dee won first place in his category for the FCCLA State Competition

Makaio Dee, for the Echo

The week of the FCCLA State Competition is considered the most stressful week of my high school career. The competition that I was competing in was one based on appearance. I had to create a salad that would “wow” the judges along with creating a menu that went perfectly alongside the salad.  

The day I was leaving for state, I was confident yet insecure; I was concerned that I may let my teacher and family down. There were a million emotions running through my head. 

The day started off with the traditional Bremen High School State send off, walking down the hallways lined with hundreds of fellow students while they filmed and took pictures of me and the seven other students I was walking with. 

Being the one boy in a group of all women knowing I was the tallest, standing at six foot three inches, was rough. I stood out whether I wanted to or not. Seeing myself on people’s Instagram and Snapchat stories was embarrassing and made me feel so insecure just looking at how big I was compared to everyone else because, although being tall sounds nice, it comes with many downfalls. This world was not made for tall people.

I put any negativity out of my mind and moved forward with my day. 

We packed our bus and started our four hour trip to Springfield, Illinois. Throughout the duration of the trip I was picturing what my presentation would look like, what the judges were gonna say. Being the only man in a group of women means that I was left out of certain activities. Throughout the trip I felt ignored and nervous that I was just an annoyance to everyone there. I hate always being the odd one out, the only man, the tallest, the gay one.

I can say for certain that my trip to Springfield was one I wish I could forget. The day of my competition came and I was confident, I had my vegetables ready, my plate and cup were packed, and my family were almost there. 

I walked down to the convention center, I was almost to the doors and then the worst thing that could happen, happened. My box that was holding my glass cup that was pivotal for my presentation fell over, and the cup shattered. 

I hurried and phoned my teacher Mrs. Mack and she saved my life. She “borrowed” a glass from the hotel room, just hoping they would never notice. I then walked over to my family, I hugged them and I was so happy to see them. It was time for my competition, my family sat down and watched me from afar. 

The table I was presenting at stood below my waist. Gladly one of the judges allowed me to work on my knees instead of being hunched over; she clearly saw me struggling. My salad came out perfectly, I was so happy. I hugged my family once more and thanks to them, I got my results. 

I won FIRST PLACE! My family couldn’t have been more happy and I couldn’t have been more grateful. Although my trip to Springfield definitely had some setbacks. With some confidence, my family’s support, and with the help from my amazing teacher, Mrs.Mack, I came out a winner.