FFA students go for gold

Mary Brown, Staff Writer

A sea of blue jackets engulfed the small church sanctuary. A dull roar sounds as students attempt to keep their anxiousness at bay. They are at the church in the little town of Shelby, Montana to see who will get the chance to continue on to the state level from the Glacier District.


Students from Great Falls, Cascade, Conrad, Sunburst, and Colverson all gathered to compete. I was there to compete in two contests: extemporaneous public speaking and parliamentary procedure. These were two of the five contests that were occurring.


Extemp. speaking is my favorite contest because it really is a procrastinator contest. In FFA, many CDE’s, or career development events (also known as the contests we go to), take a lot of studying or other forms of preparation. As any speech and debate kid can tell you, extemp cannot be prepared for by studying.


Students are given a predetermined amount of time — in my case it was 30 min.– to write a speech on a topic that they draw. There were twelve students participating in the contest. I got to keep up the friendly rivalry between my sister and myself.


After doing an elimination round, I got to enjoy lunch and speak to a few other students about how their contests had gone. An eighth grader who goes to North Middle School talked about her only contest of the day. She got to recite the FFA Creed, which talks about what the organization works towards for the future of agriculture.


My sister also talked about the prepared speech she gave. Both Katie Koterba (my sister) and Taylor Bogdan (the middle schooler) took first place in those contests.


Following lunch, our team was up for parliamentary procedure. It was my first time in the five years that I have been in FFA that I have competed in the contest. I was so nervous that I was going to mess up and cost the team an opportunity to go to the state level.


The contest is basically a mock meeting. The team is given 11 minutes to use a specific parliamentary motion, give one additional motion, and discuss three items. It was so quick that if you blink, you might miss something.


After coming out of the contest, our team was worried about our chances due to two major issues. We moved into the testing room and got the highest overall cumulative test score.


Leaving the test we all felt a little better and talked to more creed speakers. We also brought freshman Chris Ammons to be our star greenhand candidate. This is a contest open only to freshmen that chooses top FFA student. Chris took second for our districts meaning he will not compete at state.


At last, the results for the final extemp. round were out. A girl from Conrad, a boy from Colverson, my sister, and were to compete for the top two slots, and the chance to compete at state.


After the 30 minute prep time, I got to give my speech. Then was the worst part of it all… the waiting. I don’t know about everyone else, but waiting to hear the result is worse than actually taking the test, or going to the doctor.


Waiting to hear the results of the CDE were some of the longest minutes of my life, giving me ample time to overthink what I’d done. Finally it was time for awards. Two students took second and third in senior creed speaking, one girl won junior creed. My sister took first in prepared. The parliamentary procedure team took fourth.
Then we had to wait for the extemporaneous results. I was thankful when they came. Third place, the boy from Colverson. Second place, myself. First place, my sister. I was ecstatic about my placing. It meant I get to go to the state level. My sister winning first means that I get the chance to take first place from her on the state level.