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Michigan FFA stars shine in contests at state convention

Editor’s Note: This is the second installment in a four-part series covering the annual Michigan FFA Convention.

EAST LANSING, MI -- Every year, beginning in February, the newest FFA leadership contest cycle starts with District competitions throughout the state of Michigan. By the second week of March, the participants would have proceeded through the Regional contests and were preparing for the state level. With eleven options available, the members have plenty of opportunities to shine.

For those young people with a gift for speaking, there are five contests with some options for different grade levels. For the Greenhands, or the youngest members, there is Greenhand Public speaking or Creed speaking. Junior high students can present in the Junior High Public Speaking while the Senior High members have the choice between Prepared Public or Extemporaneous Speaking.

The Public Speaking contests all offer the participants a platform to share an agricultural issue of their own choosing. The 2016 Michigan State FFA winners were McKenzie Good from Alma for the Greenhand with Madison Suseland from Cassopolis in second, Emma Barnum from Mason placed first in the Junior High division with Addy Battel of Cass City in second and Breckenridge’s Claire Laurenz took the Senior crown and Savanna Struble of Charlotte was second.

The Creed Speaking competition encourages the young people to not only memorize, but also understand the reasoning behind the FFA Creed. The participants recited the creed and answered questions about it during the competition. The state winner was Alanis Harris of Carney Nadeau with Emma Schofield of Jonesville named the first runner-up.

The Extemporaneous Speaking contest requires the FFA members to be prepared to talk on a subject with the specific topic shared approximately thirty minutes before they speak. The competitors then present the speech they created and answered questions on the topic. Adrian Schunk of Mason was crowned the winner and Regan Gembarski of North Huron received the second place trophy.

Another option for those students with speaking abilities is the Ag Issues contest. Within this competition, a group of students presents both sides of an agricultural issue in a hypothetical situation. The Cassopolis team, with members Dylan Armstrong, Brittany Prestly, Daniel Deubner, Cassy Pflug, Jurnee Johnson, Austin Green, and Colin Kelly, was declared the state winner with the Hopkins team taking home the second place honors.

For the Demonstration contest, a team of FFA members shares information while demonstrating techniques concerning a specific aspect of agriculture. For this year, it was all about bees as both of the top teams spoke on beekeeping. The Hopkins team of Lexi Wilson, MaKenna Davies, and Laura Velderman earned the crown while the Montague team was named first runner-up.

For those students who tend to work more independently, the Job Interview contest is an opportunity to polish up those skills for future job seeking. The competition includes preparing a resume, conducting a job interview, answering questions and presenting themselves as the ideal candidate for the job. Monica Ward of Cassopolis won the state title and Jordyn Skinner of Caledonia was the second place winner.

The final set of contests involves the proper conducting of an official meeting. There are three levels for the teams to participate in. Each division has requirements for the students to perform with correct responses according to the Robert’s Rules of Order. The Greenhand Conduct of Meetings winner was Coopersville with members Andrea Serba, Amlya Twork, Clayton DeVos, Tyler Rozema, Trevor Dietrich, Reese Watsa, and Ben Trosper and the Ubly chapter team was second. The Perry team won the Junior High Conduct of Meetings and their members were Alexander Scovill, Maycee Demerly, Blake Donaldson, Sydni Reeder, Anthony Sidel, Macie Slee, Dylan Spenny, and Brooklyn Cozart. The Cassopolis team was named first runner-up. The Parliamentary Procedure contest was for the senior high members and the Springport chapter team won with members Caitlin Henne, Emmy Dyer, Maddy Camburn, Kassondra Higelmire, Destiny Brown, and Gracie Newland. The Byron team placed second.

The following state winners will now prepare for the National FFA Convention held in Indianapolis, Indiana: The Ag Issues team from Cassopolis, Alanis Harris from Carney Nadeau for Creed Speaking, Adrian Schunk from Mason for Extemporaneous Speaking, Monica Ward from Cassopolis for Job Interview, Claire Laurenz from Breckenridge for Prepared Public Speaking, and the Parliamentary Procedure team from Springport. Michigan will be well represented this fall with this outstanding class of young people!