Recently, Cazenovia's FFA chapter sent a team of competitors to Vernon Verona Sherill High School, for the FFA District 5 Regional Competitions. Other teams from the region included Madison, Hamilton, Mohawk Valley, the Adirondacks, Stockbridge Valley, and VVS.
The students from Cazenovia participated in several different areas, including an essay/poster contest on the theme of people in Agriculture, extemporaneous speaking (long and short formats), and prepared speaking.
Entrants in the essay and poster competition had to choose a career in agriculture that sounded appealing and research it. With over 300 occupations to choose from, the array of careers represented was impressive.
After researching their topics students had to write an essay discussing the training and education required for each career, as well as the interesting and unique aspects of the occupations. These essays were then attached to a poster that students designed and enhanced with printed images and original artwork they felt best visually represented their career choice.
The extemporaneous speech competition had two formats, a short and a long version. Speakers had a choice of several topics relating to agriculture and agricultural sciences. The topics included how agriculture currently functions and how it could or should function in the future, in regards such things as the economy, the environment and local as well as world communities.
Speakers then had 20 minutes to research their topic and prepare an outline of the speech using current periodicals and other resources. Speeches had to be at least four-minutes long but no longer than six minutes. Participants were penalized by losing points for every second they were over or under their allotted time. A panel of judges listened to each speech and determined scores based on content and manner of delivery.
The long version of the extemporaneous speech competition was very similar with participants having a longer time to prepare and a longer minimum time of six minutes and maximum time of eight minutes. Those students who placed well exhibited superior organizational skills, clarity of thought, confidence in their delivery and the ability to think on their feet during the question and answer discussions that followed the body of their speech.