Straughn JAG finishes top 10 at national conference; Business Plan team wins national championship

Published 9:15 am Thursday, May 4, 2023

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The Straughn High School Jobs for Alabama’s Graduates program had 12 students compete at the National Career Association’s National Career Development Conference in Orlando from Thursday, April 20, through Saturday, April 22.

The NCA amplifies the student voice of JAG and provides opportunities to lead, learn, and advocate at the local, state, and national levels. The NCDC provides a showcase for their skills and knowledge in the NCA Competitive Events Program. Participants also receive an opportunity to meet, greet, and network with hundreds of fellow NCA members from all over the United States.

The conference allows for students to learn at the Career and College Expo, educational workshops, and general sessions. This year’s theme was “Together Towards Tomorrow.” JAG Specialist Kaci Perry was very proud of her students.

“Every one of them placed in the top 10. Not every program can say that. It was such a joy to see all of them rewarded for their hard work. Alabama showed up and showed out. Because of the success of our JAG students, more and more students are asking to be a part of our program. The future of Straughn JAG is bright,” Perry said.

The team of Hallie Goodman, Orrin Douglas, and Mallory Hall was named national champions with a first-place finish in the Business Plan category.

“Watching our Business Plan team be named national champions was a moment I will never forget. Their reactions when they realized they had won were priceless,” Perry said.

Goodman felt the JAG program could help lead a successful and fulfilling life.

“At NCDC this year, we learned valuable life skills that will follow us wherever we go and learned amazing leadership skills. We had some amazing speakers like Darryl Bellamy Jr. who taught us that we are ‘fearless in the inside.’ NCDC was one of the most amazing and rewarding experiences of my life. I hope every state gains a JAG program in the future,” she stated.

Hall was grateful for the experience and enjoyed her time at the conference.

“It was so amazing to see how things developed from the very first conference. I am so blessed for this opportunity. My team and I walked into this competition hoping to make the top ten and left as national champions. I am going to take everything with me and work toward attending the third conference next year,” she said.

Douglas stated the opportunity to represent his school and state in Orlando was one of the best experiences of his life.

“I learned new strategies to help with job interviews and new team-building skills. I learned that if we all work together, we can create a brighter tomorrow. We placed first in business plan, and the rush I felt was like no other. I’m so glad to have been given this opportunity and would like to thank my parents and my JAG specialist, Mrs. Perry, for pushing me so hard to do my best,” he said.

The team of Cameron Wambles, Harleigh Dixon, Shaylee Harrison, and Kyera Harris earned third place in the Project-Based Learning Showcase event.

“The 2023 NCDC was truly an incredible experience. I am so blessed to be a part of such a life-changing organization and have an amazing specialist, Mrs. Perry. I love my PBL team, my chapter, and most importantly, I love JAG,” Harrison said.

The team of Sierra Bobo, Selena Bluck, Troy Bobo, and Raley VanDerryt received fourth place in the L.O.V.E. Project category.

“Although we were stressed and tired, we still managed to look at the bigger purpose of JAG. Our hard work and dedication have finally paid off. From staying up late at night practicing for competition to walking out of the conference titled an NCA champ, I couldn’t be any prouder of my team. I would like to give a special thanks to Mrs. Perry for always pushing me to strive for the best of my abilities. I would not be here today if Mrs. Perry and my amazing community weren’t by my side. I’m so glad I got to end my sophomore year named a champion. Thank you all for the amazing support and memories during my team’s journey,” Troy Bobo said.

Sylvia Worley finished in seventh place in the Financial Literacy event.

More than 800 students from 24 states competed in the NCA’s second annual conference. The state of Alabama took home first place in most categories and received the “Largest Delegation Award” with 141 delegates in attendance.

“I am so proud to be part of this amazing organization. Alabama JAG goes above and beyond to prepare our students for national competition and life in general. JAG takes ordinary students and molds them into extraordinary leaders. We help them realize their potential and give them opportunities and resources to be successful. Students that wouldn’t dare speak in public learn the skills and gain the confidence that earns them national titles,” Perry stated.

For more information about the Straughn High School JAG program, email or call the SHS office at 334-222-2511.