Ava Meinhardt | staff writer
FCCLA adviser Diane Breiner received a big surprise when the group went to nationals in San Diego in July. She received the 2022 Spirit of Advising Award.
The Spirit of Advising Award recognizes chapter advisers who are constantly faithful, often quietly working behind the scenes to ensure the success of their students.
“Every district in the state nominates an adviser who shows the spirit of advising, like getting the kids involved and all that. I qualified for nationals and out of 68 other people at nationals, I won the award,” Breiner said.
Breiner has been an adviser for multiple decades. Her first year of advising took place in Abilene in 1985. She moved to Wabaunsee in 1986, making it a total of 37 years of advising. “When I first started I knew nothing about FCCLA, but I grew to love it.”
Some of Breiner’s former students have followed in her footsteps to advise themselves. Former student Kate Gronquist graduated from WHS in 2012. Gronquist was involved in FCCLA, and Breiner was her adviser all four years of high school. She taught FCS and advised FCCLA at Council Grove before accepting an administrative position at Russel this year..
“I think Mrs. Breiner’s high expectations of her program, her effort to involve and develop young members, and her willingness to try new things/travel is what makes her stand out as an adviser, it makes her program strong, and it is what helped create those foundational experiences for me which led to becoming an advisor myself,” Gronquist said.
Current FCCLA chapter president Annie Wright said that Breiner is an amazing adviser. “She is always on top of things and knows a ton about FCCLA. I don’t know what I would do without her,” Wright said.
Breiner described how impactful FCCLA can be to a person who participates.
“It really teaches kids to get involved in the community, and public speaking skills when you do your star event. You can run for a district, state, or national office, you can go to national competitions, it’s just an eye opening adventure. I love working with the kids to get these skills and awards.”
Sure enough, these skills were passed to Wright on her journey through FCCLA. “FCCLA has greatly impacted my confidence. I used to hate talking in front of people but now I do it very easily and confidently.”
“It was a real shock and it means a lot that I’ve gotten recognized for what I love to do, which is work with kids,” Breiner said.
Breiner has made a huge impact on FCCLA and is excited for this coming year. The club had a total of 42 members last year and hopes to exceed that amount this year.