Megan Dixon, a member of the Dawson County High School Class of 2022, recently represented Dawson County at a national FCCLA Baking and Pastry competition and won third place.
During her time at DCHS, Dixon was an active participant in the school’s chapter of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA). In 2020, she and two other students placed fourth in the national competition, so as this year’s competition approached she knew that she wanted to give it her all.
At the beginning of this year, Dixon and her teammates, Bernadine Baptiste and Anna Lee, placed second as a team in the regional baking and pastry competition. They then carried on their success at the state competition in March, becoming one of just two districts in the state of Georgia to compete on the national level in June, this time as individual competitors.
Together with FCCLA Advisor Lori Grant, CTAE Director Amy Smith and fellow students Baptiste and Avery Yarbrough, who filled in for Lee at the national competition, Dixon flew out to San Diego in the last week of June. The group spent several days there, participating in the competition and using their downtime to explore the city.
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During the competition, Dixon and her competitors each baked the same recipes to be judged against one another. The bakers were taken into the kitchen in groups of about 20 competitors at a time to complete the recipes in the time allotted to them.
“All the bakers sat in this room waiting for the first group of bakers to get done so it was very intimidating just sitting there with everybody else, but we made light of it and talked to everybody and asked where they were from and all of that,” Dixon said. “We made blueberry muffins, chocolate chip cookies, cream puff pastries and then we had to decorate a cake — everyone was doing the same thing so it was kind of funny cause I could look over and see where everyone was at.”
Dixon said that she was confident in the three recipes she baked, but that when it came to the cake decorating part she struggled a little more because the icing provided to the competitors was messed up so it was much harder to work with than usual. Even so, she stayed positive and proud of herself, whatever the outcome would be.
“I was very confident with my other stuff; my cookies, my blueberry muffins, my cream puffs,” Dixon said. “We actually got to take some of our stuff back with us and in our Uber we gave our Uber driver one of my cream puffs and he said ‘perfectly cooked, so good’ and then told us actually he went to culinary school so that was cool.”
Dixon said that she was surprised and excited to learn that she’d made it onto the list of the top 10 bakers. Her group returned to Georgia before the awards ceremony took place in San Diego so she attempted to tune in online, but due to issues on the streaming end of the ceremony she said she actually learned that she’d taken third place from an FCCLA group chat.
“Me, Avery, Ms. Lori Grant and Ms. Amy Smith were trying to watch the awards online since we had to leave early but the company messed it up and it wouldn’t work so we couldn’t watch it live,” Dixon said. “There was a huge group chat with all of the competitors from all the different types of competitions there and that’s how we found out — and I just said ‘Oh my goodness, no way, this is so cool’.”
Winning third place was an amazing way to top off her high school career, Dixon said.
“That was kind of like my very last thing relating to school,” Dixon said, “and my last time that I got to spend with my teachers so that part was also really special.”
Dixon said that she is extremely thankful to have gotten to participate in the competition alongside Baptiste and Yarbrough.
“It was good to have all three of us competing; we were actually right next to each other so whenever I was getting stressed out Avery was singing, made it really light-hearted and kind of made us all laugh a little bit when everyone was really serious,” Dixon said. “I really liked having both of them there next to me and probably they would say the same; it kind of eased the scariness of it all.”
In between competition days, the group got to have fun exploring the city, go to the zoo, ride the ferry at sunset, see sea lions on the beach, and take a surfing lesson, which was Dixon’s personal favorite. She said that getting to compete and have fun while out in San Diego wouldn’t have been possible without the support of DCHS teachers like Grant and Smith.
“Ms. Grant and Ms. Smith made that trip so much fun and made it definitely worth remembering; they made it go so smooth so they were a big part of why I had such a great time,” Dixon said. “They really put so much of their own time into this trip and really made it special for all three of us; I think winning third was kind of a reward for all of the time and effort that we all spent putting into it. That was definitely one of the highlights of my senior year.”
Dixon added that her success is also due to the constant support of the Dawson County community, a community which she was incredibly proud to represent at the competition.
“This trip would have never been possible without the help of our community,” Dixon said. “Everyone was so helpful and excited for us and that definitely made us even more happy to represent our county and Georgia.”