From October 30th to November 2nd, 9 members and 3 advisors from the Elk Grove FFA had the humbling and outstanding opportunity to compete at the 86th National FFA Convention in Louisville, Kentucky.
At the convention, members competed in the Agriscience and the Farm Business Management competitions against others from around the country. Qualifying for the National Convention was a great accomplishment in itself, and the members are very proud.
Member Anthony Arellano shares, “I feel some unity with the National FFA Convention. Everyone with a real passion for the organization gathers in one place and we get a chance to form connections and show off what we know and have accomplished. I don’t know of any other high school club or organization where you get an experience like the FFA gives. The national convention to me is where the real AG kids find direction to their futures and appreciation for their accomplishments.”
A total of 5 agriscience projects competed at the National Convention.
On October 30th, 8 members were interviewed by judges regarding their projects. For the next two days, the members anxiously awaited the results. Sadie Whempner placed 2nd in the Advanced Power/Structural System with her study of wind turbine and hydrogen fuel cell efficiency; Madison Albiani and Miranda McCurry placed 2nd in the Advanced Animal System with their project comparing the effect of heterosis and sex on the rate of gain of swine; Shelby Clifford placed 3rd in the Novice Environmental System with her testing of different cover crops on erosion control; Zaidee Shaw and Asia Solano-Lim placed 6th in the Advanced Power/Structural System with their project comparing raft and ebb and flow hydroponic systems operating as part of an aquaponics program; and Malia Dietz and Jasmine Lowe placed 9th in the Advanced Environmental System with their project testing the temperature holding ability of dyed mulches in horticulture production.
After competing, FFA member, Shelby Clifford, shares how she feels, “This was my favorite part of the National Convention so far, seeing all of my fellow FFA members hard work pay off. We all put countless hours of practice into each of our competitions. The look of confidence on each other’s faces after our interviews made all the hard work worth it to me.”
On October 30th and 31st, the Farm Business Management team competed. The contest consisted of a written test on farm business management including taxes, accounting, and business strategies.
There was also a team problem solving activity in which they analyzed the business structures of a vineyard. After two days of competing and a long wait, it was announced that team members Sadie Whempner and Asia Solano-Lim earned National Bronze as individuals and Miranda McCurry and Anthony Arellano earned National Silver as individuals.
The team as a whole was awarded a National Bronze.
After competing, members had a chance to check out the FFA mall and Career Fair. With activities like the rodeo and FFA dance, the competitors met and bonded with other members from different states.
Malia Dietz shares, “Meeting so many new people with similar dreams in mind as me was truly outstanding. I enjoyed hearing about members’ schools, stories, and lives in the FFA. As I bonded with the other members it made me feel united to the rest of the organization and to the AG industry. By meeting so many FFA members and supporters, I felt my pride and self-confidence rise. The National Convention has had a great impact on my outlook on my future career and my opportunities in FFA and agriculture.”
On November 2nd, the Elk Grove FFA members and advisors headed home with pride in their eyes and smiles on their faces. So, what did the members learn from this experience?
Jasmine Lowe says, “National Convention was a truly inspiring experience. The greatest thing was being able to put my FFA jacket on to represent not only myself and Elk Grove, but represent FFA proudly. Right before we left, I got an opportunity to describe the FFA organization to a woman there. It’s such a good feeling you can’t really find until you’re surrounded by so many other states, chapters, advisors and even admirers. I also loved meeting new people, and growing closer to the ones I already knew.”
Member Sadie Whempner adds, “Something I took back from my Nationals experience was how fortunate I am to be a part of such a supportive FFA chapter. After meeting several other people from other states, I realized how lucky we are to be a part of a chapter that pushes us to be our best, allowing us to experience amazing events like National Convention. Meeting and learning about FFA members and making new friends was definitely my favorite part.”
Thank you to all those who helped our members prepare for the competitions. Thank you to the Elk Grove Boosters and Granite construction for their kind donation and support and a special thank you to the advisors who supported the members through the experience: Mathew Patton, Mike Albiani, Brittany Whyler, Chantelle Albiani, and Ms. Folan