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RHS FFA competes at state convention

By Staff | Jun 14, 2019

Rugby High School FFA’s ag mechanics team.

Students from Rugby High School’s Future Farmers of America chapter joined 1,300 participants from high schools around North Dakota at the State FFA Convention, held in Fargo last week.

Rugby FFA Advisor Kasey Okke told the Tribune the students participated in a wide variety of career development events, and he was pleased with their performance.

“We stayed on campus at NDSU,” Okke said.

Okke described the convention’s activities, which took place June 3-6.

“The kids just got to spend four days in Fargo, kind of living on a college campus. They took over the dining center and the dorms,” he noted.

“Some of the students also got to partake in a tour of downtown Fargo,” Okke noted, adding the tour included learning about Fargo’s Block 9 development.

“They got the tours; they got to compete (in career development events); they got to listen to the National FFA President speak at the convention his name is Luke O’Leary. He’s from California, and he’s serving as this year’s National FFA President,” Okke continued.

“(O’Leary) spoke to the students in our opening session, and he put on a couple of workshops throughout the week.”

Okke listed several RHS chapter members who placed among the top scorers in their events.

“Thatcher Volk was an individual state champion in ag mechanics. He had to take a general knowledge exam on ag mechanics; he had to build a wood project using just a scroll saw, hammer and nails; he had to bill out a couple of different wood projects billing them out to figure out what they cost, and how much lumber is used,” Okke noted.

“The ag mechanics event has three different contests, and (Thatcher) won the basic one, and that’s and individual contest. Kordell Kraft took third place in intermediate ag mechanics, and in that contest, they do a billing of materials, an exam, an arc weld, and a project layout. They get a picture of a project, and they have to draw it out. He took third overall in that.”

“And then,” Okke continued, “advanced ag mechanics is a team event. And there were four (contestants) Jerry Brossart, Cory Schmaltz, Brady Volk and Isaac Volk. They competed, and Cory was our highest individual in that contest, and he was seventh overall.”

Okke explained that scores from all the ag mechanics events are combined for an overall “sweepstakes” point total, similar to cross-country events in sports.

“We had first, third and second place (in individual scores), so we ended up with six points, and the lowest total wins, and we won the sweepstakes. So, we were the best ag mechanics chapter in the state. And this was the second year in a row we won that contest.”

Okke said the honor came with a traveling trophy, which he plans to display at Rugby High.

“Some other big performances we had were, our vet science team, they took third overall as a team, and Amber Selensky was third overall in that contest out of, I would say, around 250 students. So, she did really well.”

Okke continued, “Amber Selensky was runner-up in extemporaneous public speaking. (Participants) get to choose between a few articles, and they get 30 minutes to prepare a speech, and four to six minutes to present it to the judges.”

Selensky also spoke before an audience.

“And she did a wonderful job,” Okke said.

“There were some other students who got gold individual (scores)” Okke added.

“Our agriculture communications team took third place,” Okke noted, explaining: “What they had to do was write a media plan. They had to come up with an event, to promote the FFA, and they had to come up with a document to present to a board to approve this event. So, they did their media plan ahead of time, and when we got down to Fargo, they got the chance to present that plan to the panel of judges.”

“So, they took third in that competition. There were four girls on that team: Katelyn Duchscherer, Amy Volk, Kiera Larson, and Rylie Suchor. They each had an individual portion of the contest that they had to do themselves and combine for a team score.”

“So, individually,” Okke continued, “Katelyn took fourth overall and they had to write a feature story. So, when they got down there, the first part of their competition is they go to a press conference. And they take notes like a journalist would, and they do interviews. They had to take notes, and they had to write a feature story and a letter to the editor, and create a video and a webpage.”

Other achievements for Rugby High’s chapter include State FFA degrees awarded to seniors Katherine Filler and Holly Vetsch .

“Gracie Wagner was the 11th place individual overall in environmental natural resources; Amy Volk won the gold award in meats judging; Katelyn Duchscherer won a gold in floriculture; Isaac Volk earned a gold rating in advanced ag mechanics, along with Cory Schmaltz,” Okke said. “And Tyra Lysne, she got eighth place overall in veterinary science.”

Other career development events and Rugby results include:

Dairy cattle evaluation: Jadyn Barclay (31st place)

Environmental and natural resources ((15th place team): Sawyer Harmel (81st place); Kory Vetsch (97th place), Lauren Voeller (118th place) and Keith Vetsch (164th place)

Farm business management: Cody Jundt (60th place)

Floriculture (25th place team): Katelyn Duchscherer (23rd place), Emma Mahle (116th place) and Hayden Thingvold (182nd place)

Food science: Holly Vetsch (133rd place) and Rylie Suchor (139th place)

Meats evaluation (11th place team): Amy Volk (20th place); Thingvold (42nd place), Andrew Duchscherer (63rd place) and Colin Adam (89th place)

Vet science (3rd place team): Katherine Filler (38th place), Megan Harmel (49th place) and Callie Oppen (63rd place)

Okke described the chapter as “young, and they had a lot of success.”

“Hopefully we can build off their success. Hopefully we can continue to do good. There were a lot of young students a lot of ninth and tenth graders who did really, really well.”

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