Nineteen members of Pettisville FFA attended the 90th Ohio State FFA Convention held May 2-4 at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus.
On May 3, most of the members toured the Ohio Department of Agriculture, Food and Biological Sciences to learn about career opportunities and the testing the department does with farm equipment.
Also that day, five members competed in the Agriscience Fair: Jordan Skates presented a project to resurvey fish species in three freshwater ecosystems in Fulton County; Kayla Wyse did her research on which pumpkin plants green aphids prefer; Jessica McWatters presented the effectiveness of various antibiotics on Bovine Respiratory Disease; and Matt Rupp compared a typical dog splint to four 3D printed splints. Baden Skates presented an environmental project about the effects of road salt on plant growth, and Kayla Wyse had a proficiency project interview on Agriscience Research – Plant Systems.
During a 2 p.m. session, three new FFA chapters were welcomed to the state association. The keynote speaker was Gian Paul Gonzalez, a well-known motivational speaker, teacher, and ball player. Gonzalez turned down a chance to play in the NBA to become a ninth grade history teacher.
He said he wanted to help kids avoid getting into trouble, so he started a local fight club before and after school to redirect them. He had had a part in the Giant’s Super Bowl win over the New England Patriots, and was asked to speak to the players. Gonzlaez is now known for the saying “All in,” meaning a person who’s all in is going to commit fully to what they’re doing in sports or in life.
During the business meeting of the Ohio FFA, Pettisville’s delegates were President Kayla Wyse and Vice President Brandi Schnitkey. The ballot for the 2018-19 FFA officer election was announced, and included Pettisville senior Gretchen Lee. Each candidate spoke on a provided topic. Lee was nominated for secretary, and spoke about three important parts of her life.
At a Thursday night session, Kayla Wyse was recognized during the 2017 National Award Winners for her agriscience project from National FFA Convention last fall. Wyse was also recognized for her Agriscience Research- Plant Systems proficiency after receiving third place in the state. Jordan Skates was recognized as runner-up for the Star State FFA Degree in Agriscience, sponsored by Farm Credit Mid-America.
During this session the speaker was Eddie George, a former OSU student and football player who went on to play nine seasons in the NFL. He talked about his ability to overcome a childhood with an absent father in a poor, bad neighborhood.
A session Friday morning featured keynote speaker Greg Ibach, who spoke about federal agriculture policy and the need for young people in the industry. Afterward, some students went to workshops or a livestock clinic sponsored by Weaver Leather Livestock and Heritage Show Supply.
At a later session, Kayla Wyse was recognized for her gold Secretary’s Book Award, and Mauricea Crouch for her gold Treasurer’s Book Award, both sponsored by Haviland Plastic Products. Also recognized during this session were three Pettisville students for their agriscience fair projects sponsored by The Andersons. Jordan Skates and Kayla Wyse received first place and Baden Skates received third place, all in their individual categories and divisions.
The main speaker of the session was National FFA Secretary Erica Baier.
The final session of the convention began with the announcement of a record-breaking attendance of over 8,000 people. The FFA band and choir performed, followed by the retiring address of state president Ryan Matthews.
The 2018-2019 state officers were then announced, and included Pettisville’s Gretchen Lee as Ohio State FFA Secretary. The session also included awarding State FFA degrees to over 900 students across Ohio, including Pettisville FFA students Sarah Beck, Stetson Aeschliman, Drake McKeever, Mauricea Crouch, Madeleine Wixom, Tony Stuckey, Elizabeth Beck, Brandi Schnitkey, and Kayla Wyse. The state degree is the highest award granted on the state level.
Elizabeth Beck, Chapter Reporter
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