WEST POINT -- Kaitlyn Burgess is No. 1 nationally when it comes to interior design.
Medals and certificates proclaim it, but so does a $31,000 scholarship to the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, one of the top 20 ranking fashion schools in the nation. The college has four campuses in California.
"Who would have thought a little girl from West Point would go there?" said Burgess, 18, a recent Syracuse High School graduate. "Hard work really does pay off."
Burgess received the scholarship during the awards ceremony at the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America national conference in Nashville, Tenn., on July 11.
Attending were more than 3,800 students from across the country, 159 of them from Utah, said Nikki Sue Larkin, the Utah FCCLA state adviser.
Burgess said she really didn't understand at first how prestigious the award and the scholarship were until her adviser told her.
"I was shocked," Burgess said. "I was shaky and really didn't hear what they said. I was just speechless."
"This was the first time FIDM presented a full scholarship," said Dr. Muriel Mann, Davis School District's director of the Career Technical Education Department.
Mann accompanied Burgess and the other Davis School District students who attended the five-day event.
Burgess was also awarded a $3,000 scholarship to attend the Art Institute of Salt Lake City. She hopes to study there before she heads to California.
Burgess, who maintained a 3.9 grade point average, always wanted to go into interior design but didn't think she would get a chance while living in Utah. She was named her school's Family & Consumer Science Sterling Scholar.
She planned to go into a medical field and has half her work done for an associate degree at Weber State University. She admits she had her heart set on attending the University of Utah and applied for scholarships but didn't receive one.
She also missed the deadline for scholarships to WSU, where she hopes she can finish her associate degree.
"My adviser is talking to (WSU) about seeing if there are any scholarships still available," Burgess said.
In years past, FIDM had awarded scholarships, but only for between $1,000 and $3,000.
"The judges were taking photos of Kaitlyn's board before her presentation," Mann said. "It was so amazing."
Burgess competed in the interior design category against other students from across the country in the "Students Taking Action With Recognition" event.
But before she headed to Tennessee, Burgess had to take first place at a regional/district level. That competition was held in February, and she competed against schools from Salt Lake City to the Idaho border.
Then in April, she competed again in the state competition and took first place, which allowed her to go the national competition.
All students competing in the "Students Taking Action With Recognition" interior design event were assigned the same task, Burgess said.
They were told their client was a 27-year-old art major who had lived in Florence, Italy, and her parents owned a two-story commercial building that was once a grocery store. The students had to design a living area on the upper floor, without moving the windows or outer wall.
Burgess, who has Italian ancestry, went with a Mediterranean style, combining rough textures with soft colors such as blues and greens.
Burgess began decorating when she was 10 years old by helping her mother redecorate their home. She likes to take old pieces and refurbish them.
Burgess did an internship in high school with Miya Designs in Syracuse. She also decorates her parents' home for Christmas.
"That's my job," she said.
Most people, she said, incorrectly use the space they have. They either crowd too much stuff in one area or they don't take advantage of the large space they do have.
As to what to do once she finishes her college education, Burgess would love to land an internship with designers Candice Olson or David Bromstad.
The following people received awards at the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America national conference last week in Nashville, Tenn.
Bonneville High School students and events:
* Mikayla Garn, Life Event Planning
* Miranda Hill, Chapter Service Project display
* Alyssa Hill, Chapters Service Project display
* Cecelia Ostmark, Life Event Planning
* Katy Clausse, National Programs Action
* Mckenzie Ross, National Programs Action
Bountiful High School students and events:
* Savanna Dixon, Food Innovations
* Albanee Moore, Food Innovations
* Thomas Regis, Chapter Service Project display
Davis High School students and events:
* Kami Dixon, Job Interview
* Ellika Palmer, Teach and Train
Roy High School students and events
* Mackenzie Morse, Career Investigation
* Kayle Hughes, Culinary Arts
* Jasper McNutt, Culinary Arts
These educators were recognized:
* Charleen Crawford, retired Box Elder High School teacher, "Adviser Mentor Award"
* Sue Hill, Bonneville High School, "Master Adviser Award"
* Nikki Sue Larkin, Utah FCCLA State Adviser, "State Adviser of the Year," for the nation
* Calene Lucero, Bonneville High School, "School Administrator of the Year for Utah"