Cass FFA moving on to national competition
Published 8:26 am Friday, October 16, 2015
The national competition that a handful of members of the Cassopolis FFA Organization will be traveling to later this month won’t be won through planting and growing, but through motions, resolutions and votes.
The chapter’s six-person Parliamentary Procedure (or “Parli Pro”) team will be heading to Louisville to compete in the National FFA Organization’s Parli Pro Contest, held from Oct. 28-31, where they will test their knowledge of Robert’s Rules of Order against teams from chapters across 48 states. The group of high school seniors earned the right to move onto nationals after emerging victorious from the statewide competition in March.
The Parli Pro experts answered some questions about their upcoming challenge and their experiences together during Thursday’s meeting of the Dowagiac Rotary Club at the Elks Lodge. The students were invited to speak to the club by Rotarian and County Clerk Monica Kennedy, someone who is also closely associated with parliamentary procedure, she said.
The team, just one portion of the 100 members of the Cassopolis FFA, consists of members Austin Green, Emily Dussel, Cassandra Pflug, Daniel Deubner, Colin Kelley and Dylan Armstrong. The six are no strangers to succeeding in these types of competitions — or working with each other.
“This is our sixth year together, since seventh grade,” said Green, who serves as the president of the team. “We have won three state championships, and our freshman year were national finalists as well.”
Their latest victory at the Michigan level came last spring, following competitions at the sectional and regional levels. At that event, the team was required to simulate a mock meeting, following Robert’s Rules of Order to discuss, debate and ultimately resolve a problem posed to the team.
“It would be something presented to a board or a chapter meeting that we would have to solve,” Dussel said.
The team will be undergoing a similar exercise in Louisville, only on a much larger and more complicated scale, Dussel said. In addition, the team will have to complete a 50-question exam, answering questions related to parliamentary procedure, and will also analyze another mock meeting to see if the participants followed proper rules.
The team has been putting in a lot of hours in preparation for the competition, practicing three days a week for two hours, they said.
Should the team succeed in taking the top place, each student will receive between $1,500 to $2,000 worth of scholarship money, Green said. Also, members of the team who score 80 percent or higher on the exam will get the chance to become accredited parliamentarians.
Being their last time together before going their separate ways after graduation, the team is looking to end on a high note later this month.
“It’s really exciting and nervous at the same time, since we have a lot riding on it,” Dussel said.