July 23, 2024

FFA Corner: Officers light a spark in Illinois FFA members

With under a month left of the 2022-2023 Illinois FFA state officers’ term, the team isn’t wasting any opportunities to make some memories before they retire their blue jackets.

Now up to their eyebrows in planning for the 95th Illinois FFA State Convention, the officers — Rachel Hood, Derek Sample, Levi Maierhofer, Haley Bode and Kate Colgan — took April and May to leave their marks on individual students for the final time at banquets, contests and other events. The officers picked Electrify as the state theme for their term and they’ve definitely lit a spark in the now-over 41,000 Illinois FFA members.

When an FFA Chapter has completed its year, it may hold a chapter banquet, where members, parents, supporters and other community members come together to share in the chapter’s successes. Over the last month, the officers have attended over two dozen banquets, where they presented speeches, watched award presentations and ate some of the finest banquet food in the Land of Lincoln.

“It’s always interesting to go to a banquet and see what the chapter focuses on and highlights most in their ceremony,” said Colgan, a Princeville FFA alumnus and this year’s State FFA Treasurer. “Some chapters will focus more on proficiency awards, while others are more contest-driven; that even extends to whether they’re more active at the chapter, section or state level.”

From Lena to Galatia, the officers had some stellar experiences at these banquets and they are thankful for the opportunity to share in the celebration of each chapter’s accolades.

The State Parliamentary Procedure, Conduct of Chapter Meetings and Agricultural Mechanics Career Development Events were held May 4 at Illinois Central College in East Peoria.

FFA members in the Parliamentary Procedure CDE develop the mastery of skills needed to participate effectively in a business meeting and in leadership positions. The event consists of a written examination, an 11-minute presentation of parliamentary procedure and oral questions following the presentation.

The highest ranking team in the competition was the Olney FFA Chapter. The top chairperson in the competition was Marcus Ray from the Marengo FFA Chapter and the top floor member was Megan Baker from the Neoga FFA Chapter. Olney will represent Illinois when they compete at the National FFA Convention in October.

The Conduct of Chapter Meetings Leadership Development Event introduces FFA members to parliamentary procedure as they learn how to conduct efficient meetings and build their communication skills. Designed for FFA members in seventh, eighth and ninth grade, this LDE challenges a team of seven students from one chapter to demonstrate correct use of FFA opening and closing ceremonies. Additionally, each participant is challenged by a written exam about officer duties, meeting room preparation and parliamentary procedure.

The top team in the Conduct of Chapter Meetings LDE was the Olney FFA Chapter. The top chairperson was Natalie Zwilling of Olney and the top floor member was Ashley Cook from the Cisne FFA Chapter.

In the Agricultural Mechanics CDE, participants engage in one of the following agricultural technology and mechanical activity phases: agriculture power, carpentry, electricity, surveying or welding. In each activity, students complete a written examination and conduct specific exercises.

The Eureka FFA Chapter emerged victorious after all five areas had been scored and totaled. The top individuals in each of the areas are as follows: Andrew Liesman, Mt. Pulaski FFA, agricultural power; Alex Swanson, Paxton-Buckley-Loda FFA, carpentry; Jeremiah Bogner, Stillman Valley FFA, electricity; Nicholas Scherer, Mt. Zion FFA, surveying; and Luke Rinkenberger, Eureka FFA, welding.

In the Ag Business Management CDE, participants analyze business management information. The event format includes a written examination with three parts: true-false questions, multiple-choice questions and problem-solving questions. These questions are related to principles of management, recordkeeping, credit, budgets, costs and break-even problems.

The top individual in this CDE was Olivia Shike from the Unity-Tolono FFA Chapter; Unity-Tolono was also the winning team in the contest.

Behind the Illinois FFA Center is a patio, sidewalk, pond and lawn. This lawn is now adorned with streaks of orange yard paint, meant to serve as the outline of the stage on which the officers are practicing their session and speech scripts. With the Illinois FFA Convention being the largest annual gathering of Illinois FFA members, the officers are excited for the Bank of Springfield Center to be bustling with blue jackets.

Apart from the speeches and the sessions, the convention, to be held June 13-15, will hold numerous opportunities for students to learn and grow, including workshops, contests and a college and career fair. More information on each of the sessions and workshops will be coming out as convention draws nearer.

Levi Maierhofer from the Seneca FFA Chapter is the 2022-2023 Illinois Association FFA state reporter.