Cassopolis FFA continues winning traditionPublished 1:54pm Wednesday, March 17, 2010
By AARON MUELLER
When members of the Cassopolis Future Farmers of America (FFA) team were recognized during the high school’s pep assembly in February, they had a certain confidence that is usually reserved for the football and basketball players.
This is mainly because these Future Farmers of America do something that no other competitive team at Cassopolis does as consistently – win.
Desirae Massey, a member of the team, said the team deserves the recognition it gets at pep assemblies.
“When you look at the Cassopolis FFA, our group has consecutively gone to state so many years. No other team has done that,” she said. “So to not be recognized like a sport would be downgrading us.”
The Greenhand Conduct team took first place at the State Convention at Michigan State University last week, while the Agricultural Issues team took third place – something that actually came as a disappointment to a team that is accustomed to competing for first.
The team is so important to the school Principal Tony Habra was tweeting live from the convention.
“We’re deep in tradition,” senior Kyle Miller said. “We’re known nationally. It’s that tradition we carry on from year to year and that pride that we have.”
Miller took first place in prepared public speaking at the state convention, while also being elected state treasurer. He will represent Cassopolis at nationals in October.
FFA coach Carrie George couldn’t even count how many consecutive trips the team has made to the state convention.
“I’ve been here 11 years, so at least that many,” she said.
George’s classroom is filled with hardware that the team has garnered at the state and national competitions over the years. The success of past teams is a big reason why the current members are hungry to do well.
“Past teams have done good, so everybody gets a confidence,” sophomore Brandyn Polmateer said. “The reason we do so good is that we work harder than other teams.”
It’s so much of a commitment that Polmateer quit football and weight lifting to focus on FFA.
Massey also made a sacrifice for FFA, leaving the basketball team.
“It’s vigorous,” she said of the training.
The team practices every day after school for an hour or more, and that’s outside the countless hours individuals put into researching their agricultural topics.
Junior Steven Butler compared it to playing a varsity sport.
“We are the only chapter that practices (outside of school), like a football team does,” he said.
Despite the team’s certain level of swag, its members are not overconfident.
“We try to stay humble even though we’re a ‘bomb’ team,” Massey said.