FFA at state

Jacob Lane · Wednesday, April 19, 2017
The West Liberty FFA brought its A game to State FFA Competition, April 9-11, in Ames, Iowa. The chapter walked away with several gold ratings while Morgan Peterson advanced to nationals.

In fact, 54 members competed at the convention, the most qualified members out of the 230 programs in the state according to West Liberty Director Zach Morris.

“I was really satisfied for the most part of how the members did,” he said. “Overall the kids met their goals, I felt a majority of the kids were happy at the end of the day in how they did.”

“The biggest goal for all the kids was to get a gold rating on stage,” he added. “Once you get a gold rating you’re one of the top in the state.”

It was only a month ago that West Liberty FFA competed against 42 other schools at the district level in Muscatine in over a dozen individual and team categories.

A week later they went head first into the annual FFA Banquet and Awards meeting, so it’s been a busy time for the chapter.

“I thought overall is was a very smooth trip, we had a lot of kids participating in both days of the convention,” added Director Morris, thankful for the chaperones and helpers at the state convention.

The star of state this year was Morgan Peterson, who is not only state champion in Creed Speaking, but will be advancing to national competition in Indianapolis, Ind., Oct. 25-28.

“When I got there I was really nervous, but when I got in the room I wasn’t nervous,” said Peterson about reciting the Creed in front of several judges.

For the uninitiated, the creed lays out the very heart and soul of FFA. “I believe in the future of agriculture,” it begins, contemplating the role of farming and good honest work in the 21st century.

In competition, Peterson had to recite the entire Creed and then answer several questions from the judges. However, it was a challenge she wanted to take on.

“It has taught me a lot about agriculture and the different things I can be involved in with my working career and the future.” She said. “So, it’s very important to me and has taught me a lot of different skills.”

Practice involves learning the Creed, learning different hand movements and body language with changing inflections and looking calm, cool and casual on the big stage.

Ultimately, it comes down to the objectivity of the judges, which make Creed speaking particularly hard for advancing. This is the furthest West Liberty has gotten in this particular category.

As a whole, it was another fine showing at state for West Liberty.

In Ag CSI, team members Isabel Morrison, Janey Gingerich, Emily Bierman, Lindsey Laughlin, Averi Goodale and Martha Pace received a gold rating and were state runners-up.

For Program of Activities, Morgan Nichols, Kelzi Mather and Jaida Dalton received gold and fourth place. In Parliamentary Procedure, Jack Baker, Tatum Dickey, Parker Werling, Aly Jones, Gabi Evans also received gold and fourth place.

The Experience the Action came in third with a gold rating. Team members include Emma Martin, Lauren Aird, Sarah Seele, Alyssa Snider and Brookelyn Harned.

Meanwhile, Conduct of Meetings received gold and fourth place. Members include Madison McIntosh, Austyn Crees, Haylee Lehman, Alexis Partida, Brittney Harned, Marissa McMichael, Austin McMichael, and Karsyn Ruess.

In Farm Business Management, West Liberty received a Gold rating under members Ely Gingerich, Bryson Iske, AJ Lenz and Coy Ruess.

In Chapter Display, Nealy Martin-Thomas and Jimena Fierro-Perez received a gold rating. Silver ratings went out to Gracie Danner in Job Interview and Alyssa McMichael in Public Speaking.

Madison Law was gold and Kayla Maurer silver in the Geenhand Quiz. Kelzi Mather participated in FFA Band while Kennedy McNaul participated in FFA Chorus.

Finally, several members of the West Liberty Chapter received their State FFA Degrees, including Noah Feldman Joe baker, Alyssa McMichael, Gracie Danner and Morgan Nichols.

Degrees areearned at several levels in FFA, the State FFA Degree is given to the top members of a State FFA Association.

“I’ve been working with cattle my whole life on my farm,” says Gracie Danner, FFA member who earned a state degree and was a state champion in Beef Production Placement Proficiency.

“It’s a really thorough application of different skills, outcomes, findings and accomplishments you’ve had in your work experience,” she says about the whole process.

Danner, like many other FFA members, is quite active in showing. She specializes in beef shows and productions all over the country and state throughout the entire year.

So after so much work it looks like FFA gets to take a breather… at least for a week. No doubt they’ll be back to work soon as the summer season finally takes hold.
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