Five members competed with two earning honors high enough to send them to the regional competition Feb. 16. Adalyn Cook placed first in Extemporaneous Public Speaking and Annabelle Pennington was second in the Greenhand Public Speaking contest. Both are freshmen and will both represent TK at the regional contest.
Other members competing at the district were Kadence Bowers who placed fifth in Extemporaneous Speaking; and Abigail LaJoye and Erika Wolowicz who both competed in the Job Interview contest. The job interview contest had the largest number of contestants. Both LaJoye and Wolowicz received silver awards.
Amanda Kozlowski, FFA Advisor and ag science teacher, said she was very impressed with all the students who participated. “I’m incredibly proud of their efforts and courage to compete in something they knew nothing about prior to this year and with no guidance from experienced upperclassmen,” she said.
For the extemporaneous contest, students chose one of four topics ahead of the competition. Both TK students chose the topic of agriscience and technology and compiled resources to bring with them to the contest. They each chose one of two questions, both selecting to discuss how drone technology has been used to improve agriculture. They then had to write a speech in 30 minutes answering the question. Finally, they presented their speech in front of a panel of three judges and had to answer questions about their topic.
Pennington’s contest in Greenhand Public Speaking required her to prepare a speech ahead of time and present the memorized speech before the judges. She selected the topic on Agriculture Outlook, which is a collaborative effort of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.
The FFA program was restarted at TKHS this school year after being absent since the mid 1960’s. FFA members must be enrolled in an ag science class and the chapter also has to have an advisory committee including representatives of industry professionals, post-secondary education, special population, and parents.
A core group of about 15 students are involved in the FFA club this year and Kozlowski said she hopes it will continue to grow as more students learn about it.
Pennington is the FFA club’s new President. “I grew up being in 4-H and still am, and I’ve always known what FFA is but never had the opportunity to be part of it. I’m excited to be starting FFA here again,” said Annabelle, who is considering a career as an agricultural director or educator in the future.
Cook serves as the FFA secretary and is glad to finally have the chance to be part of an organization she’s heard so much about. She said one big misconception is that FFA is just for farm kids. “It’s about leadership and developing public speaking skills and knowledge. It’s about learning about different career options. It’s not just for country kids at all.”
Kozlowski said there is so much she hopes to accomplish with this new group. “There are so many opportunities you can do, but we can’t get overwhelmed by all of it to start with. I want to expose the students to different opportunities in careers and degree certifications,” she said.
In the future, she hopes to take the TK FFA group to the national convention and continue to grow the opportunities for students. She has hopes of establishing a greenhouse and small barn for the FFA club.
“I want students to understand what FFA means - to be role models and to be able to set that bar and those standards. To show people - this is what a leader looks like and to have others follow it. I want them to have pride in what it means to be in FFA and to be an FFA leader.” said Kozlowski who emphasizes the FFA motto “Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve.”