History was made at Edon Northwest Local Schools last December.
For the first time in the district’s lineage, its Future Farmer’s of America (FFA) Parliamentary team advanced to State competition. The students advanced past the County level, claiming first place, Districts, earning second place, before traveling to Columbus to compete at the State level. Such an accomplishment will be quite difficult to match, let alone surpass.
Then again, maybe not. After all, the team is comprised mostly of eighth graders.
Just his academic year, Edon has begun to allow eighth grade students to join its FFA program. The early returns on that decision are remarkably significant, with the success of the Parliamentary team an obvious reflection of that. Not every school offers junior high students membership in their FFA chapter, however. In fact, the Edon Parliamentary squad’s field of competition was mostly high school freshmen.
So how did a team so young excel against such a strong set of opponents?
“Literally all day, the day before Christmas Break, we were studying.” Team member Naomi Hickman stated.
“We studied on the bus at five in the morning.” Wendy Braun, another team member, announced.
Their preparation caused the students to look over several items, such as questions and answers from previous competitions. They also brushed up on their abilities, which are the equivalent to motions within an official FFA meeting. Even debates were fair game for the young and hungry unit.
All of that studying was put to good use. The team was judged in three categories. First, they had to take an online exam. Second, they were asked oral questions about abilities. And, lastly, they had to reenact a meeting in fifteen minutes.
“It’s almost like we were performing for them.” Vocalized Hickman.
After making it beyond Districts, the squad traveled to a special location for the State competition.
“We actually went to Ohio State University,” Hickman said, “which was pretty cool.”
Yet, once they made it to State, it seemed as though nothing could go right. The online examination did not go as well as expected. There were technical malfunctions as well.
“Our stopwatch broke, and we couldn’t see our time.” Remembered Braun.
This was a great hindrance to their meeting presentation.
“We did it in, like, four minutes.” Jordan Runyan, a third member of the team, recalled.
While that may be a slight exaggeration, they still finished with a large amount of time remaining. The stress of not knowing where they stood in terms of time made things difficult for the youthful competitors.
Once arriving at State, each school is placed into a four team preliminary grouping. It just so happened that Edon had bad luck with their pairings as well.
“We had the school that won State in our prelim.” Claimed Runyan.
Despite their tough outing once reaching State, the experience was a very positive one for the team.
“It was a great experience.” Schylar Bergman, another member of the eight person team, admitted.
“It was fun,” Braun agreed, “studying with my friends.”
They also feel a great deal of pride in their accomplishment. Given that going to State in anything is quite commendable, let alone in junior high, that said pride is well earned.
“I’d say, for our first year, we did pretty well.” Proclaimed Hickman.
While she agrees, FFA advisor Hannah Crossen still sees room for improvement.
“Before we went, we could have gotten in more practice.”
As for the team, they’re eager to see what they can do with that extra practice next year. Still, out of all their accomplishments in the present, they were just thrilled to have beaten Edgerton.
T.J. Hug can be reached at
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