FFA continues win streak

Jacob Lane · Wednesday, June 25, 2014
The West Liberty FFA program continues to rake in the wins, most recently the floriculture team won the State Championship last Tuesday, June 10, and will advance to nationals in Louisville, Kentucky.

This comes hot on the heels of three members of the West Liberty FFA Chapter becoming state champions in the Ag Mechanics Career Development event on Thursday, June 5.

The mechanics team, consisting of Chris McMichael, Brett Becker and Gabe Broders traveled to Iowa State University in Ames with their advisor Dick Brand for the win.

The floriculture team participated in the floriculture career development event, which is designed to promote the study of and interest in production and retailing of flowers, plants and foliage.

The event has seven parts (practicums), where single members of the team participate to build up points. After an eighth team event consisting of everyone occurred the points were tallied.

West Liberty came out on top, first of the ten teams competing. The Muscatine and Vinton FFA chapters followed with second and third place respectfully.

Team member Katie Meyers, recent WLHS graduate, took first place for overall individual.  Matt Kelly, senior this fall, came in second for individual overall. He was also the top individual in the problem solving practicum.

Team member Emma Baker, senior this fall, took fourth place in the individual overall as well as the top individual in floral design. Kyleigh Becker, who will be a junior, ranked tenth in the individual overall.

The students practiced around three to four times a week to prepare for the state competition at Kirkwood Community College. They ended up being the top team in problem solving, floral design and pesticide practicums.

"We conducted plant identification in our greenhouse, all other practicum preparation was in the classroom. Some of the practices the last week were two to three hours in length," said WL FFA advisor Zachary Morris.

He was unable to attend the event due to CASE curriculum training in Ankeny, but received an excited and loud call from his students in the middle of class.

"The team has been practicing for over a month. All four students showed an extraordinary work ethic," he added. "This is the first (West Liberty) floriculture team to win state."

The team will move on to national competition in October. The event is much more difficult with more practicums and difficult opponents from around the United States.

Morris is already planning for next year's state competition. He's using this year's team to help train students Belinda Heckman, Hadalyn Anderson, Gracie Danner and Jaida Dalton.

The WL FFA chapter also took fifth at the state FFA nursery/landscape career development event. Elyse Buysse ranked number 10 in the top individuals for the event. The team also included Hailey Daufeldt, Josh Walshire and Vanessa DeBock.

All of these successes were preceded by an incredible showing by the WL FFA chapter at the 86th Iowa FFA Leadership Conference in Ames last April.

WL High school sent 42 members to compete in several events, its largest showing yet. The chapter took first in the chapter exhibit leadership and Ag CSI events. It took second in the conduct of meetings and farm management career development events.

Members also had several third, fourth and fifth place finishes while the chapter ranked third in the State of Iowa for the national chapter award.

Every success has helped put West Liberty FFA on the map, not just in Iowa but in the entire nation.
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