Making a state-ment; FFA team heads to finals

Published Saturday, December 1, 2018
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BANNER YEAR – The Decatur FFA Greenhand quiz team will compete Saturday at the FFA State Leadership Development contest at Sam Houston State University. The team includes Charlotte Hale, Katherine Holmes, Reagan Staab, Zane Allsup and (not pictured) Macey Gulbrand. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

At the district and area competitions, Charlotte Hale tied with teammates for first place on the Greenhand quiz.

She shared the top spot in the FFA freshman level competition with Zane Allsup at district and with Katherine Holmes at area.

“When I tied with Zane [at district], I told myself I had to get one more question right this time,” Hale said. The pack at the top of each round of competition gave the Decatur FFA team district and area titles. The team of Hale, Holmes, Allsup and Macey Gulbrand won the area title by 10 points.

The team, which includes a fifth member Reagan Staab, will compete Saturday for a state title at the FFA State Leadership Development contest at Sam Houston State University.

“It’s very exciting,” said Decatur FFA coach Miles Vann. “I was a state FFA officer and I competed in leadership development events myself when I was in high school and this is only my second time to go to state. I never got to go on my own. I took a chapter conducting team last year. I’m very excited for this group. It means a lot.”

Hale, Staab and Holmes each followed siblings into getting involved in FFA.

“My sister wanted me to try it,” Holmes said.

Allsup pointed out with his father Jim teaching FFA at Decatur, he had little choice.

“But I feel like even if my father wasn’t a teacher here, I still would have ended up being in FFA,” he said.

The quiz is one of four different Greenhand contests. The test includes 50 multiple choice and 50 true or false questions. The questions are over parliamentary procedure, the FFA manual and the FFA Leadership guide. All the questions come from three 100-page books.

“We’ve all read the books a couple of times,” Hale said.

Vann points out the students know where the material is coming from, but it’s still a very difficult test.

“It can be extremely detailed or extremely vague,” he said. “It can be everything from who was the national president in 1979 to what are the colors of the FFA. It’s very broad and wide ranging.”

The group has been studying the material since August and has taken several practice quizzes. The extra time studying has led to the team’s success.

“We’ve all worked so hard and studied so hard,” Holmes said.

In the contest, four members take the test with the top three scores counting in the results. Vann said the five members of the team will take practice tests before Saturday’s competition to decide who will compete in the state final.

“I’ll put the best four in the room just like a coach would put the best 11 on the field or best five on the court,” Vann said. “We’ve got our own bench, but it’s a strong bench.”

The team and Vann are confident they can compete for the top prize among the 24 teams at state.

“They have practiced quite a bit,” Vann said.

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