Cassopolis FFA student wins state event, team turns in strong performance

Published 5:07 pm Monday, March 4, 2024

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EAST LANSING — A Cassopolis student took home top honors at the 96th Michigan Future Farmers of America State Convention this past weekend.

Emily Carlisle earned a FFA state championship in Prepared Public Speaking against the best FFA students from around the state. The convention represented more than 127 chapters and welcomed more than 2,500 members and guests. Held Feb. 28 through March 1, it showcased the best from Michigan’s next generation of agricultural leaders.

“The Michigan FFA State Convention is a pinnacle event that our members eagerly anticipate each year,” State FFA President William Barnum said in a statement. “It’s a time for celebration, recognition and inspiration as we come together to honor achievements, build connections and chart the course for the future of agriculture.”

Student attendees competed in 11 Leadership Development Events, visited the State Capitol, voted on constitutional amendments, were recognized with hundreds of awards, and celebrated another year of premier leadership, personal growth and career success.

Students who participated in Prepared Public Speaking had six to eight minutes to give a speech on an agriculture related topic. The contest allows students to develop their public speaking skills while learning about a particular topic on a very in-depth level. With her win, Carlisle will have the opportunity to compete at the FFA National Convention to be held Oct. 23-26 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Carlisle’s performance was the highlight of a strong showing from the Cassopolis team, which had several other members place at state:

Olivia Hayden placed second in Greenhand Public Speaking. Students who participate are first year members who have six to eight minutes to give a speech on an agriculture or natural resources related topic. The contest allows novice members to compete on a more equal footing while still gaining the skills that come with presenting a speech in front of a large audience.

Brylee Jones placed third in the Creed Speaking contest. Members in grades 7-9 have the opportunity to participate in the Creed Speaking contest where members recite the FFA creed written by E.M. Tiffany. Members have four minutes to recite the five paragraph creed. This contest lets young members hone their public speaking abilities.

The Agricultural Issues team took home a bronze award. Teams participating in Agricultural Issues consist of three to seven FFA members where they perform a skit detailing an agricultural issue. These skits are between ten and fifteen minutes in length and allow students to showcase their creativity in props, dialog, as well as knowledge.

Sponsored by Nutrien Ag Solutions, 416 Outstanding Junior Degrees were awarded, recognizing exemplary commitment and leadership. Additionally, 448 State FFA Degrees were given to senior members, with sponsorship from GreenStone Farm Credit Services, honoring their significant contributions to their chapters, communities and the agricultural industry.

Drew George from Niles FFA was honored as the Star in Production, while Alexis Ewing from Jonesville FFA received recognition as the Star in Agriscience. Blake Herremans of Montague FFA was named the Star in Agricultural Placement, and Josh Fruchey from Blissfield FFA was celebrated as the Star in Agribusiness.