An East Newton High School FCCLA student recently presented her program on "Gun Control in Schools and State" at the 2013 National Leadership Conference in Nashville, Tenn., and received a medal for her work.

The Neosho Daily News caught up with Kendra Kennedy, the FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) student about her time during the conference.

NDN: How honored were you to attend the FCCLA event?
Kennedy: Very honored to represent my school. I was the first member of East Newton FCCLA in 30 years to represent the state of Missouri at the National Leadership Conference. The July 7-11 conference theme was "Discover Your Voice." Leadership activities included competitive events, adviser and member networking, leadership academy, professional development, national officer election and keynote speakers.

NDN: Talk about your project.
Kennedy: The "Gun Control In Schools and State" project included a survey of student, teachers, and the community asking their opinion of conceal and carry in school, and teacher firearm training. Survey results found a majority felt conceal and carry should be permitted on school grounds and teachers should have a choice in completing conceal and carry certification or participating in a firearms program on school grounds. The purpose of the project was to communicate the opinion of those affected by school shooting and gun control in school. Findings were presented to the East Newton School Board, Missouri Rep. Bill Reiboldt, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, and Roy Huntington, editor of "American Handgunner Magazine." The conclusion was school safety and gun control should be continually maintained and evaluated regularly.

NDN: How many people did you go up against?
Kennedy: All 50 states could send one chapter in junior division to represent the state at nationals. Only six states sent chapter representatives in the junior division. I don't know how many competed at each state level.

NDN: Were you nervous?
Kennedy: Yes, very nervous. Having Mrs. Karen Mason, my advisor, with me helped relax me.

NDN: How hard was it to compete: did you have to practice and practice for it?
Kennedy: Competing was not hard because since FCCLA State Competition in April, I practiced about three times a week.

NDN: What did the judges say about your project?
Kennedy: After making a 10-minute presentation from my 30-page Gun Control portfolio, I answered questions from the national judges. The judges indicated I had a great topic, good portfolio and presentation. I then had to create and explain an action plan in a mock advocacy case to the judges. They appreciated my ideas.

NDN: Overall, how did you do?
Kennedy: I received a silver medal for the Junior Star Advocacy Event at the 2013 National FCCLA Conference.