During the past week, a group of SLO FFA students had the amazing opportunity of traveling to Louisville, Kentucky for the 88th Annual National FFA Convention. For some of the students on the trip, this was a chance to enjoy the culture of Kentucky, be inspired by FFA members from across the nation, and see what this organization we love looks like outside of the Golden State. But, for our Parliamentary Procedure Team, it was a week of intense of competition that they had been preparing for since April of this year, when they became State Champions. Both of these groups of students had an incredibly successful week.
The San Luis Obispo FFA Chapter members in attendance were excited to attend the First Session of the 88th National FFA Convention!
The touring group of students had a rough start as they and Mrs. Bates had to drive to the LAX airport because of a cancelled flight out of SLO. But they made it to their flights and arrived in Louisville on Tuesday night. For the next couple of days they took advantage of every opportunity to explore Louisville and the surrounding areas, visiting Churchill Downs, touring Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, and getting a V.I.P. look at the Kentucky Horse Park. Between their adventures, the students explored the National Convention Mega Store and Career Expo and cheered on the competing Parli Pro team every step of the competition. The trip was a fantastic bonding experience and growing opportunity as they experienced the FFA at the national level!
The 2015 National Advanced Parliamentary Procedure Champion Team represented California extremely well!
Before the those group of the students arrived, the Parli Pro team was already hard at work practicing in Louisville since Sunday. The team and coach Mrs. Evans spent hours each day in Louisville preparing for the competition, which began on Wednesday. On that first day of competing, the team took the written test and research questions. Their score on the test secured them an advantageous spot in the Preliminary Round and made them Accredited Parliamentarians with the Society for Agricultural Education Parliamentarians! On Thursday, the team advanced through the Prelim Round and on to the Semi Finals Round on Friday. Beating out tough competition, the team made SLO FFA proud as the moved on to the Final Round of competition which took place on Friday evening! It was an intense contest, as they competed against Wyoming, Arizona, and Oklahoma. The team performed with all their heart, knowing that no matter the outcome, this would be their last Parli Pro round as a team. Their hard work, dedication, and talent proved enough, as that night they were named National Champions for Parliamentary Procedure! The team, made up of Luke O’Leary, Mara Basich-Pease, Joelle Lewis, Kalena Cirone, Amber Bjerre, Charlie Teaford, and Avery Martin, accepted their award in shock, hardly believing that their dream had come true: they had become national champions. Not only was the entire team very successful, but Mara received recognition as High Secretary and Charlie as High Debater! Watch the video of our team competing here, under “Archived.” That night, the team and the rest of the SLO FFA students in Louisville celebrated the victory by visiting the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular, a walk that included over 5,000 creatively and artistically carved pumpkins.
After seeing over 5,000 uniquely and beautifully carved pumpkins, SLO FFA took a photo to reflect on their time in Louisville-complete with pumpkins in the background!
On Saturday, October 31st, the SLOHS students were sad to leave Kentucky, but couldn’t have been happier with the results from the week. San Luis Obispo FFA found blue ribbons in the Bluegrass State and is now enthusiastic to share the excitement of the trip to Nationals and inspiration received from convention with all those back home!
Check out this video that recaps the entire week at the 88th National FFA Convention and Expo, and how all 65,000 members in attendance learned how to “Boost Their Impact!”