FFA Brings Home the Banners


Photo by Ashley Clark

These student competed in the Cedar Park-hosted LDE on November 7. Kaitlyn McCord stands on the bottom row, second to the left, and went on to win the state champion title in Greenhand Creed Speaking.

Callie Copeland, Reporter

Cedar Park’s FFA has been participating in the Texas LDE competition for the past three weeks, which resulted in multiple awards, including a first-place state win in Greenhand Creed Speaking for freshman Kaitlyn McCord. Next fall, McCord will represent Texas at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis.

After placing first out of 589 students in Greenhand Creed Speaking, McCord said that she was not expecting to be the state champion.

“It’s definitely crazy,” McCord said. “I never thought I would be going this far because in district and area. I was placing second, but then we went to state and I placed first. It was definitely a shock to both me and my coach.”

This was McCord’s first FFA competition, in which she had to recite the entirety of the FFA creed and then answer three questions with no time for preparation.

Before the state competition that took place in Huntsville, TX, the Cedar Park FFA hosted the district-wide Leadership Development Event, or LDE, in which 13 schools and over 300 students competed to advance to Area. Of those 300, seven teams of Cedar Park FFA teams advanced to the Area XII contest on Nov. 17.

Junior Donya Yazdi, who not only participated in her first LDE that day but also in her first FFA competition, competed with a team in the Agriculture Advocacy program.

“[FFA] was a new experience,” Yazdi said. “It was a way of getting involved with the school more.”

Without farmers and ranchers, our world would be hungry, naked and riding horses.”

— Donya Yazdi

Her team of students, which consisted of freshman Dean Hoppe and juniors Kira Niedert and Joseph Hoppe, researched, composed and performed a speech about the importance of agriculture in society. They were judged on appearance, body language and the speech itself. Yazdi’s team was awarded second in district and continued on to the Area competition.

“It’s very nerve-wracking knowing that you’re being judged in everything you do, you have to speak clearly and be engaging,” Yazdi said. “It gave me experience that I would not normally get because we do not do many speeches in school.”

As a self-proclaimed “city folk,” Yazdi said that participating in FFA helped her to realize the importance of agriculture in everyday life, as well as the role that it plays in society.

“I have learned that farmers and ranchers are very important to our society through not only agriculture as in planting crops, but in livestock production and the steel industry,” Yazdi said. “Without farmers and ranchers, our world would be hungry, naked, and riding horses.”

Unlike first-year participant Yazdi, junior Jeffrey Morphis has been a member of the FFA since the eighth grade.

“The FFA, to me, is something I use to pursue my passion of helping others,” Morphis said. “The last line of the FFA motto is ‘Living to Serve,’ and that’s just what the FFA is all about.”

To join FFA, students must be enrolled in an agricultural science class such as Floral Design or Small Animal Management. For more information on how to join, contact teachers Myles Russell, Ashley Clark or Hayden Green.

“I wish people would know that FFA is not all about pigs, lambs and horses,” Morphis said. “Since joining in my eighth-grade year, my leadership and public speaking skills have greatly improved and my knowledge of the agriculture industry has skyrocketed.”