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FFA students compete in leadership development event

By Kacie Allen

Seventeen members of the St. Louis Future Farmers of America chapter spent their Valentine’s Day competing in the Region III Leadership Development Event at Michigan State University on Feb. 14.

Seniors Hailey DeRosia and Aubrey Sherwood, along with juniors Kassidy Acker and Taylor Marr demonstrated “Handling Beef in the Show Ring.” The team took fifth place and received a silver regional award.

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State degree recipients (from left) Blake D. Fisher, Hailey DeRosia, Kacie Allen, Aubrey Sherwood and Nick Harry

A parliamentary procedure team also competed at the regional competition. Students on the parliamentary procedure team must be juniors or seniors and demonstrate their ability to use Robert’s Rules Of Order. The team consisted of six seniors: Kacie Allen, Olivia Anderson, Brian Conn, Blake D. Fisher, Dawson Fisher, and Aynslee Koutz. The team placed fifth and received a silver regional award.

Finally, a “Greenhand Conduct of Meetings” team made it to the regional competition as well. When competing, members of this team must be freshmen or sophomores, demonstrate knowledge of Robert’s Rules of Order and recite the FFA opening ceremonies. The St. Louis team placed fifth and earned a silver regional award. This team consisted of sophomore Blake Siefka along with freshmen Leah Chvojka, Deagon Dosson, Cody Hartman, Kolin Lyon, Rafael Orta-Vazquez and Andrew Zimmerman.

Soon after the regional competition, 13 chapter members took a three-day trip to East Lansing for the 91st Michigan FFA State Convention. While there, students were able to attend workshops, watch competitions and serve our state.

Students enjoyed watching Prepared Public Speaking and the Demonstration contests. Many students commented on how well they liked Alcona FFA Chapter’s demonstration about beekeeping and expressed interest in starting a bee colony at the school.

Six members served our state organization (Michigan FFA Association) by being members of the Courtesy Corps. Kolin Lyon served as the official timekeeper for the State Greenhand Conduct of Meetings contest. He was responsible for accurately keeping time during a team’s presentation. Deagon Dosson, Cody Hartman and Andrew Zimmerman were “stationed by the door” in order to keep the hallway quiet and prevent anyone from disrupting a team during its presentation. Kacie Allen and Aubrey Sherwood worked the Courtesy Corps table, where they helped guests and members find their way around MSU.

Two of St. Louis’ members were selected to be our school’s official delegates and attended the business meetings on behalf of the St. Louis FFA. Juniors Kassidy Acker and Taylor Marr were given the job of selecting the 2019-2020 Michigan State FFA Officers. They also visited the Michigan Capitol Building, where they were greeted by state legislators and Michigan Farm Bureau President Carl Bednarski.

The theme of this years convention was “Be The Reason,” which positively affected our St. Louis members. Many have come away from convention with big dreams and hopes for the rest of the current school year and the next one.

Students were inspired by the state officer retiring addresses. Kassidy Acker said she was moved by the retiring addresses and that it was her favorite part of convention. Other students loved hearing from the first female Michigan state officer during the 50 year celebration of female membership. Aubrey Sherwood said it was “uplifting and amazing.”

However, the main reason we went to convention was to be recognized for our members’ achievements. Many awards are given during convention, and the St. Louis chapter came back with seven students earning three awards and a Chapter Participation award for helping with the service project “Tonnes of Tabs,” where our chapter collected pop can tabs to be donated to the Ronald McDonald House Charity.

We also had an alumni member, Leslie Siefka, who was recognized for her contributions to the Michigan FFA and agricultural education with an honorary state degree.

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St. Louis alumna and honorary state degree recipient Leslie Siefka with her parents. 

St. Louis students were recognized on stage with the following awards:

Earning Silver Academic Excellence (juniors) was Kassidy Acker.

Earning Gold Academic Excellence (seniors) were Kacie Allen, Hailey DeRosia, Nick Harry, Aynslee Koutz, and Aubrey Sherwood.

Earning their State FFA Degrees (seniors) were Kacie Allen, Hailey DeRosia, Blake D. Fisher, Nick Harry and Aubrey Sherwood.

The chapter thanks its alumni and those who donated pop cans to decrease the price of trip. Everyone had a great time!

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