FFA teams dominate district LDE meet

Decatur’s FFA chapter took seven firsts and three seconds to capture overall sweepstakes honors at the District 1 Leadership Development Event (LDE) Contest, held Nov. 17 at Bridgeport.

Chapter Conducting Team

CHAPTER CONDUCTING TEAM – The Senior Chapter Conducting team placed first at the District 1 Leadership Development Event Contest Nov. 17. Pictured are (front row, from left) Michael Hicks, Cody Holaway, Seth Sirman, Carter Hakansan, (back row) agriculutural science teacher Joey Brooke, Carolyn Spear, Lyndi Luttrull, Morgan Sarchet, Michaela Cross and Ramey Walther. Submitted photo

DHS students participated in 13 different events at the contest, qualifying for Are V LDE Competition in 10 of them.

After that contest, held Nov. 22 in Sherman, Decatur’s Senior Quiz Team emerged as a state qualifier and competed Friday in Huntsville.

Each event focuses on creating situations for members to demonstrate their abilities in public speaking, decision making, communication and their knowledge of agriculture and the FFA organization.

At district, Decatur’s Senior Chapter Conducting team – Michaela Cross, Carter Hakansan, Cody Holaway, Lyndi Luttrull, Morgan Sarchet, Seth Sirman, Carolyn Spear and Ramey Walther – placed first.

Seth Byers took first in the Job Interview contest, and also participated in the Senior Creed Speaking contest, placing eighth.

Lauryn Luttrull brought home first in the Junior Creed Speaking contest, and the Senior Quiz team of Gavin Buchannon, Michaela Cross, Michael Hicks and Trenton Lane won top honors in their event.

The Junior Quiz Team of Jacey Harris, Morgan Lamance, Sam Perkins and Scott Steiner also placed first, as did the Radio Broadcasting team – Kelsey Blase, Lyndi Luttrull and Chance Walther – and the Agriculture Advocacy Team of Savannah Carper, Kylie Cole and Annika Wissmann.

The Junior Chapter Conducting team of Kyle Drews, Holden Hacker, Austin Howell, Sydney Jeffrey, Thaine Laaser, Morgan Lamance and Lauryn Luttrull placed second, as did the Agricultural Issues team of Shelby Drews, Marissa Ledford, Maci Morton, Carson Read and Katarina Scoma.

Also earning second-place was the Public Relations team of Madison Bourgeois, Caroline Cowdery and Brittany Roberts.

The Senior Skills team, including Gavin Buchannon, Luke Cobb, Alex Samano, Anna Sherwood, Cole Stallard and Zachary Valdez, finished fifth, as did the Junior Skills team, with Maribel Camacho, Kyle Drews, Holden Hacker, Isaac Hacker and Alec Uselton.

At area, students compete on the same teams as district. In addition to the Senior Quiz Team qualifying for state, Michaela Cross of the Senior Quiz team and Morgan Lamance of the Junior Quiz team were high-point individuals in their contests.

Decatur’s Junior Quiz and Radio Broadcasting teams both took third at Area; the Junior Chapter Conducting finished fourth; Agricultural Issues took fifth; Senior Chapter Conducting was sixth; the Agriculture Advocacy and Public Relations teams finished eighth; and the Job Interview team was 10th.

Texas FFA is one of the nation’s largest state FFA Associations with more than 106,000 members in 1,045 chapters. FFA contests give students the opportunity to apply practical knowledge to real-world experiences in local, state and national contests.

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FFA fields another national champ

The Decatur FFA chapter has brought home another national championship.

Seven students – Kat Scoma, Chance Walther, Ramey Walther, Carter Hackanson, Michaela Cross, Trenton Lane and Lyndi Luttrull – recently attended the 2014 National FFA Convention and Expo in Louisville, Ken. The Chapter Quiz team made up of Cross, Lane and Ramey Walther placed third as a team in the National FFA Quiz Contest, and Cross was the high-point individual in the nation after answering 92 of the 100 questions correctly.

They Know Their Stuff

THEY KNOW THEIR STUFF – The Decatur FFA Chapter Quiz Team, which includes (from left) Michaela Cross, Ramey Walther and Trenton Lane, placed third at a recent national competition. Cross was the high-point individual. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

The written exam tests the students’ knowledge of the 200-page FFA manual, which includes the history and policies of the national organization.

Decatur FFA sponsor and ag teacher Jim Allsup said Cross was far and away the top student in the contest.

“They said she blew the top off it,” he said. “She eats, breathes and sleeps the FFA manual. … I think the closest person to her had 80 correct.”

Cross, a senior, was second-high individual on the team that placed fifth at last year’s national competition.

Asked how many times she’s read through the manual, Cross said, “On the way up there, I probably read it five times just for this contest. You’d think I’d be able to recite it by now.”

Lane and Walther, both sophomores, competed in the senior division for the first time.

With other chapters from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands attending, the convention was a unique experience.

“It opens your eyes,” Lane said. “You get to meet people from all over the United States, so it’s a great opportunity to meet all different kinds of people because it is definitely different than just Texas.”

“It would be cool because you’d be walking and suddenly there would be someone from North Dakota right in front of you,” Walther added.

Even the 14 hours on the road provided a great opportunity for the students to get to know each other better, Cross said. The trip up included a stop in Nashville, Tenn.

Decatur FFA was also named a 3-Star Chapter, the highest award a chapter can receive, which places it in the top 1 percent of all chapters in the nation. Allsup said Decatur FFA has received the award in the past but, “it’s been a few years.”

In order to achieve the 3-Star status, Allsup said a chapter must fill out a lengthy application outlining activities from the previous year.

“You’ve got to explain to (the judges) how your chapter, your students and your community are a better place because of our activities and what we do,” he said. “We submit pictures and information on what we do throughout the year. That application actually starts at the district level, then area, state and then national.”

Five former students – Paris Walther, Summer Miller, Shelbie Chandler, Brittney Hubbard and Hannah Hubbard – were presented with the American Farmer Degree, the highest individual degree a member can achieve.

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Decatur FFA collects awards at state convention

Several Decatur High School students attended the 86th annual Texas FFA State Convention July 14-17 in Fort Worth. FFA members attending included Kelsey Blase, Seth Byers, Michaela Cross, Carter Hackanson, Michael Hicks, Cody Holloway, Trenton Lane, Lyndi Luttrull, Alex Samano, Katarina Scoma, Chance Walther and Ramey Walther.

Successful Program

SUCCESSFUL PROGRAM – Decatur FFA members brought home numerous awards from the 86th annual Texas FFA State Convention July 14-17 in Fort Worth. Submitted photo

The chapter received numerous awards recognizing the entire group as well as several individual members. The Decatur FFA chapter received the prestigious Golden Horizons award, which is only bestowed upon the top 10 percent of FFA chapters in Texas.

Since the completion of the convention, all award applications and records were sent to National FFA for consideration. Decatur FFA received the National Chapter Rating, 3 Stars, which is the highest rating a chapter can receive on the national level. These awards recognized the chapter for their activities and efforts in student development, chapter development and community development.

Cayla Cotten, Michaela Cross, Shelby Drews, Ty Green, Katherine Rowden and Chance Walther received their Lone Star FFA Degree. The Lone Star FFA degree is the highest degree bestowed by the Texas FFA.

The Lone Star FFA Degree recognizes FFA members who have received their Chapter degree, been active FFA members for at least two years, completed at least four semesters of agricultural science at or above the ninth grade level, maintained a supervised agricultural experience program, demonstrated their leadership skills and showed a commitment to FFA through involvement at the chapter level and above.

Decatur FFA member, Paris Walther, won the Agriculture Communications Proficiency Award. The Proficiency Awards program encourages members to set personal goals and learn practical skills. The program provides recognition to FFA members for exceptional accomplishments and excellence in their Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) program.

Chance Walther received the Washington D.C. Leadership Conference Scholarship. Walther was presented with a full scholarship that allowed him to attend the Washington D.C. Leadership conference as a delegate representing Texas.

Lyndi Luttrull placed 7th in the Texas FFA Prepared Public Speaking Contest. To qualify for the state competition, Luttrull advanced through one of the 57 district competitions in the state and one of the 10 area competitions.

Shelby Chandler, Paris Walther, Brittney Hubbard, Hannah Hubbard and Summer Miller were named candidates for the American FFA Degree and will be awarded these degrees at the 87th annual National FFA Convention in Louisville, Ky. The American FFA Degree is the highest degree awarded by the National FFA Organization. It is the top degree in a four-tier program that recognizes individual achievement in instructional programs, supervised experience and leadership development.

Jim Allsup, Decatur High School agriculture science teacher, received his 25-year tenure award at the Vocational Agricultural Science Teachers Professional Development Conference. Tenure awards are a benefit of the VATAT and are given in five-year increments to agriculture science teachers and associate members of the association who have dedicated themselves to teaching and supporting agricultural science.

After wrapping up a successful 2013-2014 school year, the Decatur FFA program is looking ahead and planning for an even better year in 2014-2015.

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Chico FFA takes Fort Worth by storm

This year Chico FFA and Jr. FFA members placed better than ever at the 2014 Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo.

Making History

MAKING HISTORY – Chico FFA and Junior FFA members were honored with the Herdsman Award, which is given to the team that best embraces the fundamentals and rules of animal care and showmanship. Submitted photo

Not only did they place within the top 10 of their classes, but they also won the Herdsman Award. The Herdsman Award is given to the team who best embraces the fundamentals of animal care and adheres to the rules and regulations of the show. Show officials said it was the best display of herdsmanship they had seen in many, many years.

The weekend of the junior heifer show, Chico FFA and Jr. FFA excelled. Beefmaster heifers placed in their classes as follows: Macie Moss, second; Hagen Davis, third; Garon Davis, fourth; China Brattis, fourth; Brianna Martin, fifth; Amber Huff, sixth; Matti Umphress, seventh; Katie Tate, seventh; Hunter Garcia, seventh; Nick Hood, seventh; Devon Wilson, 10th; and Taylor Hood, 12th.

Red Angus heifers placed as follows: Emily McDaniel, fourth; and Macy McDaniel, fourth.

Santa Gertrudis heifers placed as follows: Jimmy Schuetz, second; Kenyon Hedrick, third; Will Jones, fourth; Austin Collins, fifth; Katie Jones, sixth; and Calli Gordon, eighth.

Other kids exhibiting Santa Gertrudis included McKayla Hedrick, Kayla Clampitt, Chance Kittrell, Cody Caraway, Elliott Mercer and Stephanie Beard.

Chico FFA is led by ag science teachers Shane Hedrick and Tyler Raley.

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