National FFA

Amber Stumpff

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The Market Plan Team competes. Left to Right: Jack Bauerle, Emma Ferguson and Molly Luhrs

National FFA Convention 2017 has come to a close. This past year at state, the Imperial FFA Chapter had three teams qualify for Nationals. Mr. Jason Speck had one team called Conduct Chapter Meeting. The other FFA Advisor, Mr. Jeremy Vlasin, took two teams: Senior Parliamentary Procedure and Market Plan. The Market Plan team competed in the final four at Nationals, while the Senior Parliamentary Procedure team placed in the top eight.

Sophomore Brooklyn Christensen competed for the final time in Conduct Chapter Meetings. It required dedication.

“I studied every day for about 15-30 minutes outside of practices,” Brooklyn said.  “The team placed in the top 12 and got a gold medal out of 39 different teams.”

In order to perform so well at Nationals, Brooklyn said the group had to learn how to work hard and overcome their differences during long hours of practice.

“We got along as a team, but there were some times we disagreed quite a bit,” Brooklyn said. “We also were friends before, but we grew closer together as a team and helped each other.”

Brooklyn said she is already looking forward to next year and all the competitions.

“If I got the chance to go back and compete again at Nationals, I would go either in Ag Sales or in a speaking competition. If I don’t go back in a contest, I would love to go as a delegate and spend time with friends and enjoy it,” Brooklyn said.

That feeling she got when she competed at the National level was “unbelievable,” Brooklyn said.

“As we got ready to walk onto stage for the first time, I felt nervous and focused, but I didn’t have time to think about anything else. When we got ready to compete in the semifinal rounds, I was more focused and less nervous. I was excited because we’d made it this far, so I didn’t think about anything else,” Brooklyn said.

Mr. Speck said the team’s determination paid off.

“I was very pleased with how my Conduct Chapter Meetings team competed. They did the best they could have,” he said.

“Parts of practice got easier, but learning new things and breaking old habits got harder,” he said. “And it was hard to work around other activities. When we did find a time, we practiced four days a week for a couple of hours a day.”

For the 2017-18 school year, it looks like the tradition of competition will continue.

“For this coming year, I have 10 kids out for Conduct Chapter Meetings, so I hope I can keep those people and get them prepared to go to Nationals,” Mr. Speck said. “I am glad that the girls made it to the semi-final round, because they worked hard on it.”

Mr. Vlasin was also pleased with the way his teams competed.

“This year the Senior Parliamentary Procedure placed in the semi-final round. Market Plan team placed in the final-four round,” he said.

Two members of this year’s Senior Parli-Pro team graduated in 2017. Shaylee Heathers and Molly Luhrs were in their first year of college, so the team had to figure out a way to work around everyone’s schedules.

Mr. Vlasin said they tried to average two or three practices a week for the year. Trying to keep on time for Senior Parli-Pro presentations was difficult with one member, Shaylee, participating by phone. It was slightly easier for Molly to practice long-distance for Market Plan, but both teams had to stick with it.

“Both teams competed the best they could,” Mr. Vlasin said. “I don’t think we could’ve competed any better. I couldn’t be any more happy for them.

“There is always this feeling I get whenever I see Imperial’s name circled in the final four,” Mr. Vlasin continued. “Knowing that we placed that high out of all the teams and seeing the kids’ reaction and happiness makes my day.”

Failure to calculate one of the test scores for Senior Parli-Pro kept them from earning higher place. Although the outcome wasn’t what they hoped for, Mr. Vlasin said he was still proud of the team’s hard work and how they handled the situation.

Senior Kayla Schilke has been an active participant in FFA. This year was her first time at Nationals.

“I have competed in Parliamentary Procedure all four years of my high school career. I enjoy competing in it and wish I could compete in it one more year to end my high school career. I will miss it very much,” Kayla said.

She hopes to earn the chance to come back next year and travel to Nationals one more time.

“I hope that I can qualify for another competition for Nationals my senior year, so I can go back and compete on the stage my final year. I’d love to make the final four one last time and be able to see Imperial’s name or my name up on that paper,” Kayla said.

Kayla cautioned incoming students about the commitment it takes to be on a team competing for a spot at Nationals.

“It’s a huge time commitment,” Kayla said. “Don’t compete and practice for yourself, but compete and practice for your team. Don’t slack off at practice or don’t slack off studying questions, but embrace every moment you have with your team and embrace every moment because it comes and goes by fast.”

Senior Emma Ferguson went to Nationals and competed in Market Plan. She has gone to Nationals two times, the first year as a delegate and the second time as a competitor.

“My first set of rounds I was all nervous, but later on in the stages I was more relaxed and calm. Trusting each other helped a lot. Just watching Imperial’s name get circled took off a lot of the pressure that we had. Making to the final four was our goal and we finally accomplished it,” Emma said.

“I never dreamed that the Market Plan that I was in would be the team that would be in the final four because Molly, Jack, and I were complete opposites,” she continued. “It felt like we came closer over time; having Mr. Vlasin always there, we had four different opinions, which helped a lot on what we could do to fix things,” Emma said.

Emma tried to overcome her nerves, which she said was challenging.

“I never looked into the crowd,” she said. “Mr. Vlasin told us to take in every moment we could and not to be nervous. We had a full year to be there to prepare for everything, and we finally made it,” Emma said.

If students are interested in competing for FFA, Emma said her advice would be to have fun and enjoy it.

“Even though writing the plan out and getting ready for competitions is hard, have fun with it. If you ‘hate’ your teammates, you’ll be OK because in the end you will have a greater relationships with your team,” Emma said.

For the last year as a senior and competing in many competitions. I would go out for many of them, Emma said.

“I’d love to go back to Nationals and compete one more time. It’s just the feeling and talking to all the other teams that made the final four: All the states have respect for you. They have been through all the ups and downs that you have been through and being a part of it is worth all the hard work you put in,” Emma said.

 

With Nationals coming to an end the FFA chapter hopes they can take more teams to Nationals next year.

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National FFA