Westside Standout Earns Emerging Leader Honor | News
By Daniel Daniels, Bibb County School District Communications Intern
Westside High School senior Kiara Fuller is on the path to business success. Her active leadership among her peers and academic success led to her recent selection for an Emerging Leader Honor Award.
Kiara first became involved with Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education (CTAE) after attending a cookout hosted by Westside's CTAE Department. She joined the Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA), which is a nationally recognized program for students interested in marketing, entrepreneurship, or management, during her sophomore year and was elected Vice President. She was elected DECA Chapter President during her junior year and has continued to fill the role during her senior year. Under her leadership, Westside's DECA membership has gone from 22 members three years ago to 90 this school year.
Kiara's efforts have not gone unnoticed. Recently she was nominated for and received the 2013 DECA Emerging Leader Honor Award. The DECA website describes the Emerging Leader Honor Award as one that, “provides recognition of students studying marketing, finance, hospitality and management for being an academically prepared, community oriented, professionally responsible, experienced leader through participation in DECA.”
While she meets and exceeds the criteria set forth in the emerging leader honor she also maintains a 3.5 GPA and is a member of the BETA Club, National Honor Society, National Society of High School Scholars, Student Council, the Superintendent's Student Advisory Board. Additionally, she is the Senior Class President at Westside.
She was also named a Westside “Seminole Citizen” during her sophomore and junior years. The award, which is voted on by the counselors and the principal at Westside, is given to someone, “who shows good character, who follows the rules, and who tries to get people involved in school,” she said.
Outside of her many school responsibilities and accomplishments, Kiara works part time at Aeropostale, and was selected as a Cherry Blossom Princess for the 2013 Cherry Blossom Festival.
She credits the CTAE program at Westside for guiding her future plans.
“I don’t know what I would be doing right now if I didn’t get involved with CTAE,” she said. “I probably wouldn’t know what I want to go to college for.”
She plans to attend Kennesaw State University and major in marketing. She wants to use her marketing education to attain a master’s degree in sports marketing and hopefully work for her favorite team, the Atlanta Falcons.
When asked how she would describe CTAE to someone who knows nothing about the program, Kiara said it prepares high school students for life.
“It gets you ready for whatever you want to do in college,” she said. “It gives you hands-on experience and leadership skills that carry you on through your entire life.”
Kiara's participation, leadership, and accomplishments led to her selection as Westside's CTAE Student of the Year for 2011-2012 and 2012-2013. In competing for the title of Bibb County CTAE Student of the Year, Kiara was required to give a speech at the Bibb County CTAE Student of the Year Banquet.
“For some reason, I was more nervous this time than I was last time,” she said.
Even though she was selected as a runner-up, she said she feels a sense of accomplishment for making it to the awards banquet.
“Even if I didn’t win, it was the fact that I was nominated and somebody saw something in me to nominate me,” she said.
Katie Wall, Kiara’s CTAE adviser and 2013 Bibb County Teacher of the Year, has witnessed her student’s accomplishments at Westside.
“I watched her develop over the past few years into this outgoing, confident, driven young lady,” she said.
In addition to her CTAE advisory role with Kiara, Ms. Wall was also Kiara’s cheerleading coach at Westside.
“She’s taking the steps that she needs to build her résumé, grow personally and professionally, and that is unique among high school students,” Ms. Wall said.
Ms. Wall's guidance and mentorship is something Kiara said she greatly appreciates.
“I don’t feel like I would have accomplished as much as I have without her help,” she said. “She really is my role model; I want to be like her someday. She’s my motivation.”