Wade Pennington earned a gold award in prepared public speaking. His topic was “Current Dilemma in the Dairy Industry.”
Several members of the Hastings FFA Chapter traveled to Olivet High School Jan. 30 for district-level competition – and most of them will be moving on to the next level.
The district includes Hastings, Maple Valley, Eaton Rapids, Charlotte and Olivet high schools, along with the Calhoun Area Tech Center in Battle Creek. The top two finishers in each event advance to regionals.
Not only are individuals and teams placed among competitors, they also receive either a Gold, Silver or Bronze award rating. Hastings had two individuals place fourth but still received a gold rating, an indication of high performance amid tough competition.
A Hastings Middle School team and an individual competitor will be moving on to regionals.
Charlie Nickels took second place in Junior High Creed Speaking and earned a Gold rating.
The Junior High Conduct of Meetings team, consisting of Kaylie Carl, Trey Casey, Diego Coipel, Heath Hays, Keegan Lindsey, Ryan Van Dorp and Aydria Willard, also placed second with a Gold rating.
At the high school level, in individual competitions, Wade Pennington, placed fourth in prepared public speaking and earned a Gold rating; Katie Clark also placed fourth and received a Gold rating in the job interview contest. Jade Hunter placed sixth and garnered a Silver rating in job interview.
The two high school teams – Ag Issues and Parliamentary Procedure – both took first place, earned Gold ratings, and will advance to regionals.
The Ag Issues team includes Faith Beede, Emily Mitchell, Andrew VanSyckle and Haylee VanSyckle.
Members of the Parliamentary Procedure team are Zoey Haight, Addison Horrmann, Emily Roe, Michael Van Dorp, Emma White, Breanna Willard and Kayla Willard.
“[The] kids worked really hard and overcame many obstacles,” Hastings FFA Advisor Andria Mayack said. “I’m very proud of them. They are learning to balance school, work, and master the art of these contests. They are doing great things.”
Through FFA, students gain leadership and public speaking skills, and prepare for careers in science, business and technology of agriculture. Once strictly an agriculture-focus program, FFA’s scope and membership have expanded, but it is still dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of students.
Hastings has an alumni chapter, and some alumni members work with current students to prepare for competitions, Mayack said.
“We’ve had help from many alumni members, including Ethan Haywood and Austin Haywood for my Ag Issues team,” she said. “Katie Christie and Kevin Doyle have been important part of the kids learning and accomplishing goals for Parli Pro and Jr. High Conduct of Meetings Team.”
Regionals will begin at 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13, at Calhoun Area Career Center in Battle Creek. There, FFA members from more than a dozen high schools and three career/tech centers will compete for the chance to qualify for state competition in early March.
“[Hastings Middle School Advisor] Carrie Carl and myself couldn’t be prouder,” Mayack said. “Regionals here we come!”