Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert works as the Editor of Discover Muscatine Newspaper.

Muscatine Living

MUSCATINE, Iowa–Just as their spring break started, 25 Muscatine FFA students traveled to Pekin March 12 for the district convention. In what proved a challenging set of contests, Muscatine FFA advanced to state in two areas and earned alternate to state in three.

Muscatine FFA district competition scores:

  • Job interview: Jaiden Schmelzer, second gold, advancing to state
  • Middle school ag CSI: Eladiee Gaucin, Kaden Miller, Miguel-Antonio Pena, Chevelle Rider, and Dylan Spencer; second silver; advancing to state
  • Parliamentary Procedure: Belinda Brain, Camden Furnas, Jenna Lovestad, Emma Mesecher, and Avery Schroeder; third gold; alternate to state
  • Radio broadcasting: Ella Schroeder, third gold, alternate to state
  • Program of activities: Danika Garrett, Emily King, Teresa Rivas; silver; alternate to state
  • Ag sales: Grant Van Nice, gold
  • Middle school ag impact: Mallory Bruhn, Andy Franke, Jack Harfst, and Kensley Paul; silver
  • Manual quiz: Raen Acker, third silver
  • Extemporaneous speaking: Bob Carver, bronze
  • Greenhand test: Cole Buster, Cheyenne Mosier, and Addison Weggen
  • Delegates: Cheyenne Mosier and Addison Weggen

As one of the students advancing to state, senior Jaiden Schmelzer felt pleased with her performance in the job interview contest, which involves creating a resume and completing an eight-to-10-minute job interview for an entry level position of the contestant’s choice. “I’m excited, definitely,” she shared. “It’s a good opportunity for me, and I’m just glad the work paid off.” Jaiden interviewed as a prospective veterinary technician, as she hopes to study veterinary medicine. She plans on continuing to practice interviewing with different people so she can better anticipate some of the questions she might get at state.

For students not moving on to state competition, districts still proved a positive experience. Senior Grant Van Nice competed in ag sales, an event where students act like salespeople from a company and pitch a judge on an agriculture related product to try to convince them to buy it. His efforts earned him a fourth place gold rating, just outside of what he would have needed to go to state. Reflecting on his performance he stated, “I’m disappointed, but it gives me the opportunity to be in other contests at state.”

Each year, several contests hold their first round at the state competition or slightly later. Members of Muscatine FFA will compete in four of these, including biotech, nursery and landscaping, poultry judging, and team ag sales. Very hands on opportunities, Grant and several other Muscatine FFA members look forward to trying their luck at them again. “Camden (Furnas) and I went to nationals for nursery and landscaping last year, so we know what to do; we just have to get the new people ready,” Grant observed.

In one of the toughest district competitions he had seen, Muscatine FFA advisor Josh Day said that many of the students’ rankings came down to very fine points that each judge rules slightly differently on. He commented: “We had two areas move on. We’d like to see more, but that’s what the judges decided.”

Still, with Muscatine FFA students competing in just about every contest available, he believed they all worked to do their best. “Looking at our results, they did very well and were very competitive.”

Muscatine FFA will next compete at the State Convention, which will take place at Iowa State University April 10 through 12.

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