SHERIDAN – Students from Tongue River High School and Sheridan High School enjoyed success at the FFA’s 94th National Convention.
The FFA National Convention – held October 25-November 1 in Indianapolis, Indiana – aims to nurture the next generation of leaders, teaching individuals how to make an impact in the world. Before reaching national competition, teams had to qualify at previously held events, ranging from local to state competitions, from Creed’s speech to cattle judging. The Tongue River High School FFA officers are Jake Massar (President), Wyatt Charlson (Vice President), Lily Krumm (Secretary), Rudi Balstad (Sentry), Kaleb Dupuis (Reporter) and Colter Hanft (Treasurer) and the the school’s engineering team includes Massar, Charlson, Cache Van Tassell and Wes Beadle.
The mechanics team placed eighth at the convention.
“There are a few written tests with a bunch of sections like electrical and structure, but that’s pretty much everything you’d encounter on a farm or ranch,” Charlson said.
Due to COVID-19, nationwide tests were written and picked up by Zoom instead of going in person to Indianapolis.
Once in Indianapolis, the team underwent more written tests as well as practice sections, periodically switching between the two. Some of these hands-on activities included building a welding project and rebuilding a hydraulic motor.
Tongue River FFA Officers attended general sessions including Career Development Event Announcement, which gives students the general overview of the event, new National Officer inductions, lounges Jobs featuring dozens of colleges and workshops on a variety of topics, including the basics of running a small business.
Outside of the convention, the Tongue River FFA team visited several locations around the city of Indianapolis, including the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“It was really cool and one of the kids’ favorite things on the trip,” said Tongue River FFA advisor John Masters. “In the past, we would go to CNH Industrial’s parts center for the country.”
The team also made an escape room, aiming to strengthen teamwork. Sheridan High School was the other school to participate in the FFA National Convention. This year, Jhett West was the only student from Sheridan High School to compete in the Creed language. Along with West, Cassi Bernhardt assisted as an FFA adviser. In Creed speaking, West rose through the ranks, winning the Wyoming State Championship in April at the Wyoming State FFA convention, winning the first round at the Nationals on August 27, earning him a berth. in the top four, which was televised. as of October 28, 2021. West ranked fourth in the nation.
“It was a lot of practice throughout the school year last year,” West said.
“There was also a lot of practice throughout the summer, it took a lot of time and effort to get to this point at the nationals,” he said.
Practices prepared for competitions that spanned the state, beginning with local speech contests in mid-February and culminating with televised portions of the FFA National Convention on October 28, 2021.
“About 200,000 students nationwide enter this competition each year, so to be in the final four is a huge deal,” Bernhardt said.
Although the Arvada-Clearmont High School FFA team did not participate in the National FFA Congress, they still enjoyed great success throughout the year.
“I think the coolest thing is being able to find out who they are as individuals,” said FFA adviser Monica Castaneda. “Being able to find their passions and how they really are as individuals has been the biggest success I’ve seen throughout the program.”
Tamica Smith, Timber Buhr, Shelden Malli, Peityn Manor, Norris Graves and Nick Sandefur have all individually become strong leaders within the community.
“Tamica Smith started out being afraid to speak in front of anyone,” Castaneda said. “She is actually the first Clear Creek FFA child to participate in the public speaking portion in Clear Creek history since last year.”
“It was a really cool experience and a great way for people who have never really had the chance to travel across the country to see a new area and just be in a group as big as the FFA. “, Massar said.