National FFA Champions

Valerie Herbert

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National FFA Champions

 

“In fourth place, Washington.”

The Imperial Parliamentary Procedure team members hold their breath as the announcement of the final four results continues at the national competition. 

“Third, California.” The Nebraska girls squeeze each other’s hands. 

“There are two really nervous teams down there,” the announcer says, looking at the Nebraska and the Texas teams. “Second, Texas.” 

 The Imperial, Nebraska, Parliamentary Procedure team is the last name to be announced. The room erupts in loud cheers, and the six girls from Nebraska hug and cry tears of joy in each other’s arms as they realize they have finally reached the goal they have been working toward for almost a year. 

On Nov. 1, 2019, in Indianapolis, Ind., the Imperial FFA Parliamentary Procedure team officially earned the title of The 2019 Parliamentary Procedure National Champions. This is the highest honor at a national level contest that the Imperial FFA chapter has received. This team had also made Nebraska FFA history, by being the first Nebraska team to ever win the national title in that contest. But what did it take for these six girls to accomplish this? What were they willing to do in order to experience this life-changing moment?

One week after the 2018 national FFA convention, six FFA members came together to participate in the parliamentary procedure contest, or “the super bowl of contests,” as it’s known among competitors. Jozie Schilke, Brooklyn Christensen, Valerie Herbert, Lindsey Mendenhall, Courtney Odens and Alexis Richmond met with their coach, Mr. Vlasin, to discuss the contest. During that first meeting, all six wanted to accomplish the same goal: to become national champions. 

After establishing their goal, they became determined to put in the time and work to make their dream come true. During the early morning and the occasional evening practices, along with their third-period class time, the team came together to work on their demonstration and other aspects of the contest.

To compete at the national level, a team has to place in the top two at the district contest in order to move on to the state competition. At state, only the top team in the contest can compete at the national level.

“The most difficult part of the process, since we did it over a year-long span, was staying motivated through those times where you couldn’t necessarily see the potential end result,” Alexis Richmond said.

At the national contest, the Imperial parliamentary procedure team started off by spending the day taking a written test, a citation quiz for Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised 11th Edition, along with a test on their knowledge on the minutes for a meeting and a team problem.

For the written test, a member must score an 80 percent or above to become a certified Parliamentarian until the age of thirty. Each member of the Imperial team officially became certified as Parliamentarians and had a 91 percent average. 

The national contest also consists of a demonstration. The six members of a team, consisting of a chairman, secretary and four assembly members, conduct a “meeting” using the rules from Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised 11th Edition.

Each team member is given a card with a main motion and five other motions that are listed in Robert’s Rules of Order manual written on it. They then debate the motion on the card. The demonstration has a time limit of 11 minutes, followed by a round of questions derived from Robert’s Rules of Order, as well as a series of clarification questions. 

The Nebraska team competed in three different rounds. The first was the preliminary rounds, which include all 42 teams. Next are the semi-finals, which have 12 teams competing. The last round of the contest is the finals, where the winner of the contest is determined out of the top four teams. 

After being announced as the top Parliamentary Procedure team in the nation, the team received various awards. Jozie Schilke was awarded “Best Member” out of 251 other participants for her ability to debate and her knowledge in answering clarification questions.

The team also received a large gavel that will have their chapter name and state engraved on it, along with a smaller gavel that they will be able to take home with them and display in the classroom. They also were given a banner made out of the same corduroy blue material as their FFA jackets and a  $1,000 cash prize.

While the payoff was satisfying, members perhaps enjoyed the process as much as the reward.

“My favorite part of the journey was coming together with six girls to do something that we learned to love and not only working hard toward that goal together but coming together and being closer together at the end than when we were at the beginning,” Alexis said.

The girls also acknowledged the community’s support. They came home and were congratulated by a walk through the hallway at the school. Many community businesses and individuals congratulated and showed their support by sending cards, cookies, and putting up a sign on main street saying, “Parli Girl Power.” 

The small-town Nebraska parliamentary procedure team made history during their journey at the FFA National Convention. These six girls put in hard work, determination, and came together as a family to accomplish what they wanted: to become Parliamentary Procedure National Champions. 

 

The Parliamentary Procedure champions pose with a large gavel that will have their chapter name engraved on it.