MUSCATINE, Iowa–As the first round of FFA competitions each year, students competing at sub-districts always look forward to their contests both with excitement and some trepidation. “It was a little nerve wracking because it was our first contest of the year, but it’s fun to get out there and try new things,” said sophomore Danika Garrett, who competed in program of activities.
Though students may have felt some nerves, and several FFA members competed for the very first time, Muscatine put up quite a successful showing at their sub-district contests held in Tipton Feb. 21 with 13 students in seven different contests earning a high enough rating to continue on to the district contests.
In the weeks leading up to the sub-district contests, students worked not only with their teammates but with more experienced FFA students, the FFA advisors, and even community members with relevant experience (such as a retired radio broadcaster and former FFA judge). This approach ensures students develop their skills to the best of their abilities before they head out to compete for the first time. “Muscatine FFA is a real team project,” said FFA Advisor Dave Tometich. “We enlist the community and especially our teachers, but we also have older kids help out,” he elaborated.
This support helps contestants feel truly prepared for their events, as their standings at sub-districts show:
- Ag Sales: Grant Van Nice, gold, advancing to districts
- Extemporaneous Speaking: Bob Carver, gold, advancing to districts
- Parliamentary Procedure: Belinda Brian, Camden Furnas, Jenna Lovestad, Landin McCreary, and Avery Schroeder; gold, advancing to districts
- Job Interview: Jaiden Schmelzer, gold, advancing to districts
- Program of Activities: Danika Garrett, Emily King, and Teresa Rivas; gold; advancing to districts
- Radio Broadcasting: Ella Schroeder, gold, advancing to districts
- Manual Quiz: Raen Acker, silver, advancing to districts
- Conduct of Meetings: Cole Buster, Chale Lewis, Elsie Lewis, Emma Mesecher, Rhynn Miller, Addison Weggen, and Emma Whitmire, gold
- Prepared Pubic Speaking: Madeline Fisher, silver
- Welding, Gaven McKillip and Tyler Spencer, bronze
The students felt good about their initial performances as well and embraced the opportunity to continue developing their skills for district competition. “I’m happy I get to have a second chance to improve and move on to the next competition,” shared Ella Schroeder, a junior who competed in radio broadcasting, where students take 30 minutes to prepare for and then give a live radio broadcast including weather, market information, news stories, and a commercial they developed.
“I think it was definitely more than we expected,” reflected Camden Furnas, a sophomore, on his first time competing in parliamentary procedure. “Overall, we were happy with how we did.”
FFA advisors took pride in how the students did as well. “We’re fortunate to have a good group of young people that are interested in competition and taking advantage of all the opportunities they have,” stated Tometich.
More than just developing the skills students need for their contests, Tometich values that students find confidence in participating in activities that suit them. “There’s an opportunity for every young person in our program and it allows them to find success,” he asserted.
District competition will take place March 12 in Pekin. Soon, Muscatine FFA students will have another chance to demonstrate their skills and find success for themselves.