Added schools to district bears a test for FFA LSE contest

Freshman Jacson Valentine takes a glimpse at his notecard to keep on track during the event of Junior Public Speaking. Valentine earned a blue ribbon in the event.

Becca Meusch

The District Two Leadership Skills Event contest for FFA was held on Monday, Dec. 2 at Raymond Central High School. With 15 schools now in the district, David City FFA was still able to qualify two for the State contest in April and one as an alternate.

“Based on the competition and difficulty of our district, I am always grateful to have at least one State qualifier,” FFA Advisor Jenny Kocian said. “Our officer goal was to have five go to State, and we only got halfway there.”

State qualifiers were freshman Kirsten Bell, who was District Champion in Creed Speaking, and sophomore Laurel Ockander, who was District Runner-up in Extemporaneous Speaking. Eighth grader Natalie Blum received third place in Junior High Ag Literacy Speaking and is an alternate for State.

“I was super excited for Kirsten because I have never had a Creed speaking winner, and she put in the time and deserved it,” Kocian said.

With an added school to the district this year, Bishop Newmann, Kocian said that chances of making it to State were even lower because only two people still qualify in each event. Students started practicing back in October for the event. However, this year Kocian did have help preparing students for competition with an assistant, English teacher Laurel Valentine.

“I’ve always been an advocate for the arts, and I hope in years to come that our Chapter can improve the quality we send to Districts and also send more people to State,” Ockander said. “Our district is a tough one to make it out of, but I hope we can be more successful in years to come.”

There were many FFA members who received recognition in their events at Districts. In Ag Demonstration, the team of Aquinas members Nolan Jakub and Kael Jakub and the team of junior Caeden Pierce and freshman Austin Mastera earned blue ribbons.

In Senior Public Speaking, junior Brooke Bell got a blue ribbon, in Junior Public Speaking freshman Jacson Valentine earned a blue ribbon, and in Cooperative Speaking freshman Spencer Allen earned a blue ribbon.

In Natural Resources, Aquinas member Valeria Whitmore earned a blue ribbon, in Employment Skills senior Rebecca Meusch earned a blue ribbon and Mikhayla Farmer received a purple ribbon, and in Extemporaneous speaking junior Caeden Pierce earned a blue ribbon.

In Junior High Ag Literacy Speaking, eighth grader Payton Andel received a blue ribbon. In Junior High Discovery Speaking, eighth graders Lauren Vandenberg and Shelby Hein earned blue ribbons.

“Since I am only a sophomore making it to State, I have lots of room to grow and compete in extemp again. David City has had students qualify for Nationals, and Nebraska always does well in LSE’s,” Ockander said. “I hope to live up to that standard and do well at State not only for David City, but to represent the high level of competition in Nebraska.”

The Chapter’s next competition event is Livestock Judging near the end of January followed by District Career Development Events where students can qualify for the State Convention.