By Julie Lucas, IMCOMApril 25, 2013
GARMISCH, Germany- When Vicenza High School junior Abigail Vallery attended the Future Educators of America European conference for Department of Defense Dependents Schools in January she had no idea she'd be returning home as a president.
"I wanted to run for vice president and so did another student. Because no one ran as president the person with the most votes became president," Vallery said.
Vallery has been a member of the organization for three years and joined because she assisted with summer Bible study and always liked working with younger children, she said. When she ran for office she had to stand up at the conference and give a two-minute speech.
"I saw at last year's conference that the president has to give multiple speeches and by running, this is giving me skills to use in many other areas," Vallery said.
Her duties will include planning and organizing next year's conference, to be held in Garmisch, Germany, at the Edelweiss Resort.
"All the officers all over Europe will have a teleconference and then we will go to Garmisch to see which rooms to use," Vallery said. In addition, the officers will have to find educators to conduct seminars on teaching and new methods.
"Last year one speaker talked about a flipped classroom that uses videos and is more one on one -- I was really impressed and I think that would be one technique that would be helpful," Vallery said.
To help the group go to the conference they did a fundraiser selling scented pencils that was Vallery's idea and she was the top salesperson. According to the FEA adviser, Lisa Balboni, Vallery helped to deliver frozen yogurt to the VHS teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week as well as organized a chili lunch at the high school.
"We are a relatively new club in Vicenza, but we more than tripled our numbers," said Balboni. "We intend to grow and keep bringing back the winning treasure from our European Conference."
Vallery said she will begin her planning this summer for next year's conference. She not only has the support of her club adviser and other members, but her parents.
"We think this is a wonderful opportunity for Abigail to test out her speech skills by becoming president. She has played school since a toddler and always talked about becoming a teacher, so this is helping her achieve her dream," said Abigail's mother, Allie Vallery.