The Big Walnut/DACC FFA team competed last week at the 88th National FFA Convention & Expo in Louisville, Kentucky.
On April 30, five Big Walnut/DACC FFA students placed first at the Ohio State FFA Convention with their Agricultural Issues Forum Career Development Event (CDE). As winners of the state Agricultural Issues Forum CDE, the Big Walnut/DACC FFA team competed last week in Louisville.
Gabby Adair, Harrison George, Lex Marvin, Meghann Hale and Troy Herrel focused on the issue of urban sprawl. Specifically, they studied the effects of the Simon-Tanger Outlet Mall and the NorthStar Developments and the effects of those projects on agriculture in Delaware County.
Big Walnut High School ag science teacher and FFA adviser Jeff Stimmell said the Agricultural Issues Forum is one of 24 national CDE areas, covering job skills in everything from communications to mechanics. Local FFA members develop a presentation focusing on a current issue facing agriculture, and give that presentation to local community groups before competing at state and national conventions.
“The team members are all freshmen and sophomores and each student took on the role of a community member affected by the issue, and then acted out a meeting of the Berkshire Township trustees,” Stimmell said. “According to the awards and records in the Big Walnut ag science room, this is the first time in the history of the Big Walnut FFA that a team has qualified to compete in a Career Development Event at the National FFA Convention.”
Competition includes a 15-minute presentation, followed by a 10-minute session of questions by judges. Stimmell said tjat. while at the national convention, the Big Walnut/DACC team gave the single best forum he has ever heard the group of students give.
“They did not earn the right to move on to the final rounds, but we learned that they have received the national bronze emblem,” Stimmell said. “Even though they are not going to move on, it was an honor for the team to earn their first-place state finish and earn the right to compete at the national convention.”
Stimmell also noted that CDE presentations, at the local, state and national levels, are more than just an opportunity to compete against other FFA teams.
“Not only do CDE team members get to be creative in putting together their presentation, but they also get first-hand experience when presenting locally before they compete,” Stimmell said. “CDEs help students develop the ability to think critically, communicate clearly and perform effectively as they move on to work in competitive job markets.”
Big Walnut/DACC FFA joined forces with Buckeye Valley FFA, sending 40 students to the national convention, 13 from Big Walnut.
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093