The Shelby FFA in conjunction with Pastor Chad Scarborough and the First Baptist Church hosted the Glacier District Leadership Development Events (LDEs) this past Tuesday.
This annual event was attended by FFA chapters in the Glacier District including Cascade, Simms, Great Falls, Fairfield, Valier, Choteau, Conrad and of course Shelby. LDEs are public speaking events that include memorizing and reciting the FFA Creed, Extemporaneous, Senior and Junior Prepared Speeches, Parliamentary Procedure, Conduct of and FFA Meeting and a Star Greenhand Interview.
Judges from the community were invited in to give multiple views and opinions about the speakers and ultimately place them in order according to their speaking abilities. It is great to see the response from the community and their willingness to work with the students. Judges ranged from local business owners, agricultural science teachers, MSU Extension Agents and personnel from the local USDA offices in Shelby and Cut Bank. The Shelby FFA would also like to thank Pastor Scarborough for lending out his facility for the event. Being a former FFA State Officer from Texas, Pastor Scarborough is a staunch supporter of such events and the National FFA Organization.
Approximately 50 FFA members participated in one or multiple events. A girl from Cascade even participated via Skype due to her involvement in the Science Fair at Cascade High School. We as teachers felt it was important to allow this student to participate even though she was physically unable to attend. She obviously is an ambitious student so we wanted to reward her for her efforts. It worked out perfectly. The technology is readily available so why not use it.
The FFA Creed competition involves students memorizing the five paragraph creed written by E.M. Tiffany. It is a rite of passage for FFA members and reciting it is the beginning of a career in FFA public speaking. Some students enjoy reciting the Creed so much that they sign up for the competition. The students are then questioned for five minutes by the judges asking them mostly opinion questions about what is written in the Creed. The students that recite the FFA Creed are then eligible to compete for the title of Star Greenhand. They are interviewed individually about FFA history, their future involvement in the organization, and about FFA projects they currently have or may have in future years.
Parliamentary Procedure involves six students showing off their parliamentary skills. They are given one minute to organize their thoughts on how to incorporate multiple motions and discussion as a team. The individual team members also take a comprehensive test of parliamentary rules and procedure. The Conduct of Meetings event is similar but is geared toward 7th - 9th-grade students.
The Extemporaneous speaking contest encourages students to think quickly and forces them to focus their thoughts and efficiently prepare a speech. The students pick from sixteen random agricultural topics and have 30 minutes to prepare a five to seven-minute speech on just one of the topics. They are able to have five reference sources and can have up to ten minutes on an electrical device if they so choose. The device can be connected to the Internet for the research.
Prepared speeches can be on any topic related to agriculture. The manuscripts are drafted before the competition by the student. They must be six to eight minutes in length with references cited. The student is then questioned on their research for five minutes upon completion of their speech.
Ten Shelby FFA members participated in the LDE competitions. Jered Johannsen, Ethan Schwenke, Jonathan Henke, and Curtis Conant tried Extemporaneous speaking while Karra Lohr, Haylee Nieman, Justin Nieman, Michael Sanchez, Jackie Stratton and Alex Stratton all took the Senior Prepared route. It was the first time for all of these students to try an LDE.
At the end of the competition, it was Karra Lohr taking home the highest honor. She placed 2nd with her speech entitled, “The Effects of Stress on Livestock Prior and Meat Quality Prior to and During Slaughter.” It was a very interesting read and one of Karra’s passions as it relates to her experience raising livestock for the Marias Fair. Placing in the top two at this contest is quite a feat. It also gives Karra a ticket to the State FFA Competitions being held in Billings at the beginning of April.
Mr. Thad White concluded, “I am very proud of the students. Public speaking can be a huge challenge for a high school student but a rewarding experience at the end of the day. Of all of the skills learned in high school, I believe the ability to speak in public is the one that will set them apart when they pursue their future endeavors no matter what that may be.”