The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

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By Forrest Hershberger
Publisher Sidney Sun-Telegraph 

FFA Members Compete in Speech Event


January 13, 2021 | View PDF

Five members of the Sidney High School Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapter, returned from a speech competition with awards, and just importantly experience.

Angel Helms, Erika Meakins, Isis Finnie, Riley Rohn, Alyssiah Green and Sidney Allard competed in the speech event. Helms competed in persuasive speaking, Meakins competed in extemporaneous speaking, Finnie in FFA Creed, and Rohn also competed in Creed.

This year’s competition took place under the health directives in reaction to the COVID-19 virus. Competitions were conducted via Zoom conference participation. Competing in a speech competition via computer program has its advantages, but is not the same kind of experience, according to Helms. Placing fourth, she said the experience is complex, but easy.

“I thought it was really fun,” Helms said.

Helms entered FFA as a student who had never been on a farm. She was drawn to the program because of the people.

Even with the fun of competing, she said meeting other FFA students was a missing factor. However, it was better to do online because of the COVID concerns.

She was drawn toward public speaking since competing in spelling bees in elementary school. She decided to join FFA last year at her previous school and pressed for speech competition when Sidney restarted its FFA chapter.

“I thought it would be really, really fun for members to see someone compete,” she said.

Meakins, a junior, also first experienced FFA at a different school. She also participated in speech her sophomore year.

“I competed in extemporaneous speaking. I actually got first. I will be competing at the State (competition) in April,” she said.

Finnie took on the Creed competition in her first year as an FFA club member.

One might say she is an exception from the cliché of FFA and rural programs only for farm kids.

“This is my first year in FFA,” she said.

She added learning the creed was very interesting. She called the speech competition ‘scary, but nice.”

Rohn is in his first year as an FFA member and competed in the Creed speech competition. He said the experience of competing is fun.

“To know I can compete and go places is really fun,” he said.

He added he is really happy Sidney returned the FFA program.

Green pushed herself on two levels. This is her first time in FFA and she has never done any public speaking.

“It went way better than I thought it would,” she said.

She added she received good reviews on her speech.

Sidney Allard didn’t put her name in the speech competitions, but her heart and actions spoke volumes. She lead a community service project to help people in need. Boxes were left at local outlets for people to donate non-perishable foods. After about a week, the donations were collected and divided into food boxes to be given to people in need. Boxes for families who couldn’t be reached were taken to Table of Grace. In addition to the non-perishable foods, Allard donated her own ground beef to the packages.

“I donated 30 pounds,” she said. “It was one of the steers I raised.”

She was motivated by the unique environment resulting from the coronavirus and resulting restrictions.

“I just felt after this year we needed something more,” she said.

Next for the FFA members is the Career Development Events (CDE) competition. CDE events include a wide variety of skills for food science and floriculture to agronomy and livestock management. According to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln FFA page, the state hosts 19 CDEs “covering job skills in everything from communications to mechanics.”


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