While in the fourth grade, Molly Williams decided to craft an idea for a bed-and-breakfast for the homeless in the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley. Six years later, she decided to revisit that proposal as her project for Clarkston High School’s Family, Career and Community Leaders of America Club.

Williams, 16, studied which laws would apply, how she’d fund the idea and how the business would operate, essentially crafting an entire business plan.

The fine-tuning paid off for the teen, who was one of three students from Clarkston who earned a gold medal at the FCCLA National Leadership Conference in Anaheim, Calif., earlier this month.

She received a perfect score of 100 in the entrepreneurial category for her project titled “Security Blanket,” which earned her a ranking of third in the nation. Williams also received a $20,000 scholarship to Sullivan University in Kentucky.

“Getting a perfect score is pretty rare at the national level,” said Lindsey Slaybaugh, Clarkston FCCLA adviser.

Williams’ club colleagues, Abbey Marler and Jayden DeBoer, also received gold medals for their joint project focused on grief and the local resources available in the community. Both students graduated from Clarkston High School this year.

When Williams initially came up with the idea for the bed-and-breakfast in elementary school, she said it was because she wanted to give back to the community.

“I knew I wanted to do a business that wasn’t like everyone else, so I thought of a project that would help others because I’m big on helping people,” she said.

Williams, who is also a DECA member, said it was her second time competing at the national conference, but her first time placing in the top three.

“It’s so rewarding, because of all the late nights and hard work I put into this project,” she said. “It’s rewarding to know I did a good job and it was also great fun to present the project to the judges.”

Williams doesn’t know if she’ll utilize the scholarship to attend Sullivan University, but said she’ll now consider the school. As an incoming junior at Clarkston High School, she hopes to get more scholarships in the future.

She’s currently interested in the marketing field, teaching or studying law, but that could change as she progresses through high school.

The experience at the national conference helped Williams gain more confidence and leadership skills, she said.

She plans to continue with FCCLA for her remaining two years of high school. Williams thanked family consumer science teacher Slaybaugh and science teacher Chandler Jones for their help and guidance.

Slaybaugh applauded the three students for their hard work.

“All three of them are fantastic students and fantastic kids,” she said. “They are awesome, respectful kids and I feel very fortunate to have them be a part of our program and a part of our school.”

Tomtas may be contacted at jtomtas@lmtribune.com or (208) 848-2294. Follow her on Twitter @jtomtas.

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