The Swamp’s 5 CTSOs: A Breakdown

An overview of what each of Green Level’s CTSOs require and entail.


     Most Green Level students, both new and old, are eager to get more involved in the school, and the best way to do that is through extracurriculars. However, many students may not know the full extent of their options. Some may not even know that they are able to join a CTE club.

     At this point, you may be asking, what is a CTE? CTE stands for Career and Technical Education. The CTE classes offered at Green Level include Business Essentials, Entrepreneurship I and II, Animal Science I and II, Horticulture I and II, Microsoft Courses, Adobe Courses, Computer Programming Courses, Food and Nutrition I and II, Health Science I and II, and Biomedical Technology. If you are currently enrolled in any of these classes, you are eligible to join a corresponding CTSO, or Career and Technical Student organization.  

     There are also certain pathways that can qualify you to join a CTSO. If you have completed one of the corresponding pathways (see image) and are currently enrolled in any CTE class, even a non-corresponding one, then you are eligible to join that club. It’s also important to remember you can only join one CTSO at a time. The CTSOs available at Green Level include DECA, FBLA, FCCLA, FFA, and HOSA. 


     DECA stands for Distributive Education Clubs of America. It is offered for students who are currently enrolled in Business Essentials or Entrepreneurship I or II. DECA’s purpose is to help prepare students who are interested in pursuing a career involving leadership, entrepreneurship, marketing, finance, hospitality, and management. According to Elizabeth Cotton, the staff advisor of DECA, “DECA is all about competition.” DECA meetings are spent preparing students for district (December), state (February), and national (April) competitions. Members can compete in varying topics both individually and as part of a team. There’s also an international competition in which 16 Green Level Students were able to participate last year. Elizabeth claims, “DECA is our sport!”


     Future Business Leaders of America is meant to help prepare students for careers in business. You are eligible to become an FBLA member if you are taking any of the following courses: Microsoft Courses, Business Essentials, Entrepreneurship I or II, Adobe Curses, or Computer Programming Courses. The goal is to help students understand the fundamentals of business principles and gain a sense of leadership. According to Kaitlyn Eklund, Vice President of Community Service, “It is a great way to meet peers with the same interests and learn more about business!” Kaitlyn also said that the main events that take place in FBLA are regional, state, and national competitions where members choose an event in which they are best suited. In addition to these competitions,  FBLA participates in community service, workshops, and social bonding activities. 


     FCCLA, or Family Career and Community Leaders of America, is meant to give members opportunities to prepare themselves for adult life through family and consumer education. However, here at Green Level, FCCLA focuses solely on food and nutrition. If you are currently in Food and Nutrition I or II, you may join FCCLA. One thing that really makes FCCLA stand out is its food truck that they pull out once a quarter, which, according to Ms. Stanton (the faculty advisor of FCCLA) “is an outreach to our teachers to support them and provide the food for club events at night.” FCCLA has 3 areas to focus on: the first being school outreach with the food truck, the second being a cooking show called ‘Chomped’, and the last being preparing for and competing in State and National competitions. Ms. Stanton wants members to come out of FCCLA “being experienced in different career options in family and consumer sciences… and being able to know the gifts and talents they have.”


     FFA stands for Future Farmers of America and is meant to help cultivate leaders who wish to pursue a career in agriculture. FFA is available to those who are currently in Horticulture I or II  or Animal Science I or II. According to Cate Taylor, President of FFA, “Each piece of FFA is a beneficial part to growing the member’s ability to advocate for agriculture through public speaking, teamwork, and inspiration.” The main activities FFA members partake in include volunteering in the Children’s Barnyard at the NC State Fair, cleaning the FFA center at White Lake, and speaking to elementary and middle school students about the importance of American agriculture. According to Cate, it is not just the agricultural opportunities FFA provides that make it a worthwhile club, but also the community it creates. As a parting remark, Cate added “FFA was the best thing to ever happen to me, and I highly encourage everyone to see if it’s the right fit for them, even if they don’t plan to enter an agricultural career.”


     Health Occupations Students of America, more commonly referred to as HOSA, is for those wishing to pursue a career in the medical field. Anyone taking Health Science I, II, or Biomedical Technology is eligible to become a HOSA member. According to Mrs. Sopko, the faculty advisor, “HOSA is a medical professionals club where students who are taking a health science class can help out and work together to do competitions, leadership events, and really dive into what it takes to be a medical professional.” The main activities of HOSA include community service projects, competing in different local and national competitions, fundraisers such as blood drives, and guest speakers. Some guest speakers in the past have included a Cardiothoracic surgeon, a NICU nurse, and a biomedical engineer. 


     CTSOs are meant to cultivate leaders and provide opportunities for students to familiarize themselves with specific fields of work. CTSOs are perfect for students who want to learn more about career options, expose themselves to a certain career, want to be provided special academic and leadership opportunities, wish to make connections with other students and teachers, and have something solid to put on college applications. Make sure to check if you are eligible for any of the Green Level’s CTSOs and see if they are the right fit for you!