Harvey educator named finalist for national adviser award

HARVEY – A Harvey educator is a finalist for a national adviser of the year award.

Kathy Walsh, who has served as Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) adviser at Harvey High School for 27 years, was selected by the organization as one of five finalists for the first-ever FCCLA National Adviser of the Year award, presented by the U.S. Army.

“Mrs. Walsh has gone above and beyond to give of her time and energy to Family & Consumer Sciences Education since day one of entering the classroom,” said Ann Dietchman, North Dakota state supervisor for Family and Consumer Sciences and state FCCLA adviser, in submitting her nomination. “Willingness to take responsibility, accepting of new challenges, willingness to share with other professionals and enthusiasm for all things related to the profession of Family and Consumer Sciences and FCCLA are all marks of a good teacher. Mrs. Walsh embodies all these characteristics.”

The highest honor a chapter adviser can receive, the adviser award will be presented at the National Leadership Conference in Seattle this summer.

Walsh was selected from 70 nominees, along with finalists from Alabama, Indiana, Minnesota and Virginia. Each of the finalists will receive a $1,000 cash prize, and the national honoree will receive an additional $2,000 cash prize.

“It has been a privilege to have strong support from the community, school administration and staff throughout my career,” Walsh said. “I have especially enjoyed the opportunity to witness the leadership and character development of students from multiple generations. The strong support of parents and dedication of students has led to strong achievement on the state and national level. I feel blessed to be able to have a career working with young adults to build a foundation for their future community and leadership involvement.”

Walsh has spearheaded numerous initiatives that have left a lasting impact on her students and the broader community. Her accomplishments include securing numerous state and national program awards. Her innovative approach to education is highlighted by her successful integration of FCCLA activities into the curriculum, ensuring that students engage in meaningful real-world experiences.

She has advised more than 282 participants in national FCCLA competitive events, achieving top honors. She has developed community and business partnerships that have enhanced students’ educational and service opportunities. Among her local chapter projects have been adopting a highway for cleanup, paper recycling, hosting child care to enable parents to prep for Christmas and participating in Relay for Life and sports concessions.

Walsh, who holds a bachelor’s degree in vocational home economics education from North Dakota State University, has been recognized as Teacher of the Year and has received multiple other awards, including the North Dakota Career and Technical Education’s Director’s Award of Excellence.

She has held leadership positions with the North Dakota Association of Teachers of Family & Consumer Sciences and has coordinated leadership and competitive events for students as district adviser for many years.

“She lives and breathes for these kids,” said Amber Ziegler, FCCLA co-adviser in Harvey. Ziegler said Walsh dedicates herself to ensuring her students achieve their highest potential, pushing them in ways that enable them to see for themselves the potential they have.

Walsh also puts focus on the family aspect of FCCLA, Ziegler said.

“Everything she does at school, at FCCLA, at home, her focus is family, and I think that’s a great lesson that she’s instilling in these kids,” she said.

Dietchman’s nomination stated Walsh epitomizes what it is to be a Family and Consumer Sciences Education teacher and FCCLA chapter adviser. Her curriculum not only meets state guidelines but addresses current issues of concern in her community.

“Mrs. Walsh has created a classroom climate in which students learn to develop their own plans for extended learning, carry out these plans, evaluate their work, and feel confident in doing so,” she wrote. “She not only encourages but also provides opportunity for students to be contributing members of their school and community in real and practical ways.”

Dietchman said the most striking element is how Walsh has intimately involved parents, business and industry and community members into support for the program, enhancing its success and that of her students. The Harvey program has produced numerous district presidents and state officers, and the chapter has received the Outstanding Chapter Award numerous times.

Carsyn Ziegler, a Harvey High School graduate now attending the University of North Dakota, was a state vice president of STAR Events, which are FCCLA competitive events.

Ziegler said she was attracted as a student to FCCLA by the quality of the program, which is apparent in the number of members who have been state officers and those who have participated in national competitions.

“Mrs. Walsh was just super-pro-active in our school. She was always on the hunt to get all the kids in FCCLA. And then, when she got students into FCCLA, she was super-passionate about getting her students to do STAR events,” Ziegler said. “She was in her classroom after hours all the time, helping students prepare, and most years, nearly all the students who have a STAR event make it to nationals.”

“She’s a persistent woman,” she said in describing how Walsh is able to motivate teenagers to that level of activity and achievement.

“As a busy high school student, sometimes it got to be kind of a lot, but I’m so thankful I did do that,” said Ziegler, who credits her leadership and public speaking skills to FCCLA. “You just felt better about yourself afterward, and I’m happy I took advantage of those opportunities.”


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