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Inkspot

FFA recognized among nation’s top chapters

The NCHS FFA Leadership team competed at the 92nd National FFA Convention in Indianapolis from October 29 to November 1. The top ten individuals and the national winning team members in each of the competition’s categories were awarded cash prizes to recognize their success in the event. 

The FFA organization began as the Future Farmers of America, but are now the National FFA Organization; rebranding to include all students interested in the different aspects of agriculture beyond farming. The national leadership organization for agriculture is for students who are interested in agriscience, mechanics, or leadership, Mrs. Liz Harris, FFA Advisor, and agriculture teacher said. 

“We’ve really opened up the gates for all opportunities within agriculture,” said Harris.

Photographer: Mrs. Liz Harris
FFA members pose with their awards at the National FFA Convention.

15 members from the NCHS chapter attended the convention in Indiana with the opportunity to compete and learn.

Community competed in three events:  Model of Excellence, Agricultural Communications, and Community Service.

The NCHS FFA chapter’s nomination for Model of Excellence recognizes the organization as one of the “top 10 Agg programs in the country,” Harris said. Ultimately, the Model of Excellence was awarded to Covington-UVCC FFA of Ohio for “actively implement[ing] the mission and strategies of the organization,” according to a press release issued by the convention’s organizers.

Covington-UVCC FFA identified a need to decrease stress in their student body, promote production agriculture, and improve the future lives of students. As a result, they created a “De-Stressalizer” program offered four events—such as tai chi and movie night— throughout the school year that allowed students to unwind.

The NCHS group competing in the Model of Excellence event presented community growth and development plans to a panel of judges. Hubble, a chapter officer, presented NCHS’s community service project, Towels for Howls. In hopes of building up the community, students asked for donations of supplies (including towels) that were then given to local animal shelters, Hubble said. Despite not receiving the award, the organization was able to benefit local animals in need.

As a student-run organization, the NCHS chapter is excellent – considering their results from the National Conference last weekend.

In the Communications event, the team of Madeline Hubble (‘21),  Kelsey Kern (‘21) and 2019 graduates Molly Brothers and Kenzie Kraft placed 17th in the country. The four utilized their business, marketing, and writing skills to create a potential multimedia marketing pitch.

As a team, the Normal FFA was recognized with a Silver Emblem, placing them outside of the top 15 finishing teams. All four competitors were recognized as individuals with Kraft earning a Gold Emblem, Brothers and Hubble earning Silver, and Kern a Bronze.

Beyond the competitions, the convention offered additional learning opportunities for FFA members: workshops, an agricultural career fair, conversations with agricultural companies, and a trip to a local farm are all activities that students experienced.

Hubble recognizes the impact that FFA has had on both her personal growth and her future aspirations because it has provided her with a lot of strange opportunities. While visiting a farm in Indiana, Hubble said, “We could put on a glove that went all the way up our arms and then stick our hand inside the cow.”

Due to the members’ achievements in the different events, and the rapid development of the program, Harris is proud of the chapter.

“I think it’s amazing just to see how our programs have grown over that short amount of time – to go from, literally, having no program to being one of the top [programs] in the country.”

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About the Contributors
Jessalyn Baer, Staff Writer
Jessalyn Baer is a senior at Normal Community High School and has been a member of both the varsity cheerleading and diving teams. This is currently her first year working as a staff writer for the Inkpot.  On the weekend I like to play lacrosse and volunteer at the Humane Society of Central Illinois. A random fact about me is that I tore my ACL in May while hanging out with friends. If I won a million dollars I would donate half to charity, put some toward college, then give the rest to my parents and my sister.
Jillian Murphy, Staff Reporter
Jillian Murphy is a senior at Normal Community High School. She is currently working with the Inkspot for the first year as a staff reporter. On the weekends I enjoy watching snowboarding competitions, spending time with my friends and family and working. The furthest I’ve ever been from home by myself is when I went to Washington D.C. for a journalism conference this past summer. A random fact about me is that I love to read.
Olivia Plangger, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Olivia Plangger is a senior at Normal Community and a second-year Inkspot reporter. Throughout her time in high school, she has competed on the Lady Iron basketball team, performed with the NCHS Chamber Orchestra, and formed bonds while in Generation Connect club.  A favorite film of mine is the Sandlot. The best advice I could give to an underclassman is to take advantage of every opportunity, stay involved, and enjoy your time.
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