FFA places sixth at State

Julianna Poe, Sports Editor

All year, Manhattan High FFA has worked to prepare for and attended many district competitions leading up to a sixth-place Food Science state finish this past week, which was held on Monday and Tuesday at Kansas State University. Seven FFA members — seniors Ayden Boyles, Elise Jackson and Chanae Parker; sophomores Cade Carson, Tessarae Harris and Chessa Parker; and junior Lauren Walradt — competed in Vet Science, Poultry, Food Science and Horse Judging.

“In order to prepare for … state, we had to prepare heavily for district competition,” FFA sponsor Elissa Mullinix said, “and because most of our members are competing in areas they may not necessarily have as classes, it’s a chance to further explore interest areas. [In addition], a lot of the practice had to happen outside of class.”

As a team, FFA has received many awards throughout the year, including first and second place finishes in Food Science, eighth place in Poultry Judging, third place in Horse Judging, 11th place in Vet Science and fourth place in Agriculture Communications. In addition to much success, not only did FFA receive sixth-place in Food Science at state, they were also awarded with a gold rating — compared to an expected bronze rating — for their results.

However, according to Mullinix, because this event was a local competition, Manhattan High FFA students weren’t as focused on the event so much as their later day events, putting them at a slight disadvantage. Additionally, because many of the contests at state have content that aren’t available in classes at MHS, state competitions was more of a learning experience.

“It’s kind of different interacting with the tests and items that they have in person because a lot of the stuff we have to study [is] online and we don’t get to see it in real life until [we go to] a competition,” Harris said.

According to Jackson, the state experience from this year has made them feel more confident going into future years. In addition, going to competitions — particularly on campus grounds — can also be beneficial to college readiness both for classes and future FFA involvement.

“K-State professors are the ones that put on [these] events,” Jackson said. “We got to meet with a couple of them, and since I’m going to K-State next year, it was really cool just to meet with them and talk to them.”

FFA plans to keep at it and continue to show achievement as well as improvement next year.

“I don’t want to go backwards,” Mullinix said. “My goals for next year would include to involve more students in competition to at least match this year’s success or exceed and to continue for students to have a sense of preparation, or that they are prepared when they walk into a contest.”