“The Meeting Room will Come to Order…” Opening Opportunities and Closing Fear of Public Speaking
Written By: Publicity Committee Members
San Luis Obispo FFA’s first public speaking competition of the year was held on Wednesday, October 3, at Morro Bay High School. This event is called Opening and Closing ceremonies and it teaches students teamwork, memorization skills and introduces them to the world of public speaking. Students participated from FFA Chapters included Morro Bay, Templeton, Shandon, Coast Union, Paso Robles and Atascadero High Schools. “What exactly is opening and closing?” is a common question asked by parents and new students. The FFA organization has a historical script, written in the 1930s, for the six chapter officers to both ‘open’ and ‘close’ an official business meeting. Each officer is called upon and recites their duties along with the historical significance of their station. Proper use of the gavel and official professional dress are also addressed in this contest.
According to the FFA Manual,
“Official FFA Ceremonies are a source of pride, identity, and tradition among FFA members and chapters. Ceremonies emphasize the purpose of meetings, the duties of officers and the significance of recognition given to individuals. All official ceremonies are to be memorized, rehearsed and conducted with pride and dignity.”
San Luis Obispo FFA had a record number of participants with over 100 SLO FFA members and 17 teams. They competed in three different categories: Novice, Advanced, and Chapter Officer Team. SLO FFA had 10 teams make the finals after an initial round. Our students won many awards including 2nd and 5th place Novice teams, 1st through 3rd place Advanced teams and 2nd place Officer team. Several of SLO FFA students were recognized as High Individuals or Outstanding Speakers for their respective position, including [freshmen] Faith Frederick, Chase Kubinski, and Anne Frederickson, [Sophomores] Olivia Cisneros and Sophia Silacci, [Juniors] Sterling Hamilton, Jahan Ramezani, and [Seniors] Megan Fragasso and Lili Steel.
Students not only use this contest as a way to improve public speaking skills, but also as a way to prepare for their future in education and careers through strengthening their communication, confidence, and teamwork. It serves as a stepping stone to improve their skills for CDE (Career Development Events) and LDE (Leadership Development Events) teams later in the year. Our 100 wonderful students encompassed a wide array of students including athletes, musicians, artists, dancers, AVID students, actors, and much more. One of the biggest aspects we take pride in is the tradition of mentorship by the older students with the new freshmen. We are so proud to have so many respectful and professional leaders representing SLO FFA!
Advanced students wear full FFA official uniform