FFA Prepares for Virtual LDEs

AG Teacher, Members Discuss November Competition


Photo courtesy of Shannon Butler

Staring at computer monitors, FFA students practice for LDEs on Nov. 11. The teams have been preparing since the end of August, and they are hopeful that they will advance to Area despite all events being online this year. FFA is open to anyone, and it provides opportunities for every student to learn. “FFA provides opportunities for leadership and career development, while also providing an avenue to build friendships that you may have never expected,” Butler said. “FFA has areas of involvement for the intellectuals, social butterflies, hands on individuals, musically talented, artistic, foodies… the list goes on. The FFA creates leaders, but it also gives anyone and everyone a home and family within their own school.”

Ally JohnPress, Reporter

“I believe in the future of agriculture, with a faith born not of words but of deeds.” 

These words echo throughout the rooms where FFA students are judged in creed speaking. This year, though, the Leadership Development Events (LDE) will be held over Zoom. That means pre recorded statements, online meetings and virtual judging, something that is brand new this year due to COVID-19. 

Since the end of August, FFA has been meeting before and after school to practice for the LDEs held tomorrow. There are a variety of events students can participate in, including chapter conducting, radio broadcasting, public relations, FFA quiz team, job interview and senior FFA creed speaking. Senior FFA Club President Skye Lindholm is participating in both chapter conducting and public relations. In public relations, students are required to memorize a script and present it to a panel of judges, and in chapter conducting, a panel of judges will provide a problem for each team to solve.

“We have to memorize terminology, pertinent facts and the hierarchy of certain motions in order to do well,” Lindholm said. “For both of those contests, we have to memorize questions [and] answers and be prepared to answer them accordingly. It’s a lot of practice and hard work, but it’s all going to be worth it if we place and advance to Area.”

While for some, the competition may seem easier since some of the speeches are recorded, according to Lindholm, since it is her senior year and final year in FFA, she is upset.

“I was really looking forward to having a normal LDE experience,” Lindholm said. “It’s so much fun, and there are so many people you know and [new] people you meet. I love talking to people and meeting people, so I was definitely disappointed when it was announced that everything would be online.”

Other events, such as senior creed speaking and job interview, test students’ abilities on how they present the creed, answer follow up questions that test the knowledge of agriculture as well as questions one might see at a regular job interview. Junior Vice President Kaitlyn McCord is competing in both of these events.

“It’s hard to tell how I’ll do but I’m going to stay confident with my training that I’ve done and do the best I can,” McCord said. “I’m a little concerned with [the competitions] being virtual just because I’ve never done a live virtual contest and it’s something I’m definitely not used to, but there’s a first for everything.”

Agricultural Science Teacher, Shannon Butler, said that she is confident that her students will do well in District. 

“Our teams have definitely put in the work, but you never know what kind of nerves will come out the day of,” Butler said. “I would love for the three teams that I train to advance, as well as the teams trained by my teaching partners. Competition is tough. We won District in [public relations] last year, so hopefully we can repeat that.”

The next step for FFA in competition would be advancing from District to Area. From there, the top two from Area qualify for State. With the entire competition being held online, though, there are significant changes. 

“We definitely miss the camaraderie that comes with live contests, but it is nice to have the opportunity to perfect their performance in the comfort of our own school and submit the video of our choice,” Butler said. “We are excited to work with the CPHS broadcasting crew to get the best quality recording.”

FFA is an opportunity for all, and Butler has said she convinced two athletes to give LDEs a chance this year and they are both interested already. 

“Whether or not you choose to pursue a career in agriculture, FFA opportunities can help develop your abilities to speak to other people, problem solve and critically think through situations,” Butler said. “There are contests literally called ‘career development events’ that explore each of the pathways within the agriculture program of study. There are over 30 different contests that can be checked out on the Texas FFA website.”