It was moments before the beginning of his presentation. His mouth was dry and he took a quick sip of water before focusing on the judges in front of him.
Within a short time frame, he needed to market himself and his ideas. He needed to show them he was an expert in hospitality and he could be their winner.
He took a deep breath and started talking.
BV graduate Kyle Stalcup won gold in the Star Event of Hospitality at the Family Career and Community Leaders of America National Leadership meeting in Chicago. His prize was a $12,000 scholarship to the school of his choice.
“When they called my name and said that I received gold, I was ecstatic,” Kyle said. “I worked on that project since January and I found out July 8, my birthday.”
Kyle created a portfolio with 20 pages of research in hospitality.
He also created his own mock training manual for a restaurant and presented all of his information to five judges.
After his presentation, the judges were allowed to ask questions.
“He started working on it early,” FCCLA sponsor Donna DeHart said. “He stayed focused, he handled the presentation skills and he believed in himself and what he was presenting. He had a lot of passion for it.”
DeHart said she wasn’t surprised that Kyle won.
“Kyle was a student who was not very connected to school but he will do really well in the real world,” she said.
Kyle had to win at the district and the state levels before he could go to nationals in Chicago.
Senior Carly Thompson also won top gold in Teacher Education.
She said perseverance was key to finishing their projects.
“You have to keep trying,” she said. “When you think that you’ve done every single thing that you can, there are actually ten different things you can work on. There is always room for improvement.”
Thompson said every detail in their presentations had to be precise.
“You have to follow directions to the dot,” she said. “The judges are really, really strict. We had to keep improving things and fixing things.”
Kyle said his interest in hotel management and hospitality sparked at an early age.
“Hotel management is something that I have wanted to do since third grade,” Kyle said. “Whenever I used to walk into a hotel, I would think, ‘Wow, how cool is this?’”
Kyle’s mother, Laura Stalcup, said she was elated when she heard the Kyle won because he had worked so hard, but she wasn’t surprised.
“We have always traveled a lot as a family and because of that he has experienced many different cultures,” Laura said.
She said she noticed Kyle’s passion for hotel management when he was young.
“He was in third grade and we were driving down the street,” Laura said. “He asked me whether the linens or the TV sets were more important. Of course, I said the linens.”
Kyle said the experience was extremely rewarding.
Winning first place will benefit his future in several ways.
“If I say that I received a gold at a national competition in hospitality, it looks really good to colleges and jobs,” he said. “You meet so many new people.”