FFA Judging Teams Compete

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Merayiah Villarreal, Staff Writer

Identification stickers are passed out to determine each competitor’s group, signaling that it is almost time to begin the contest. Words of encouragement are shared between each team members as they all hope for first place. Recalling the hours of studying and long practices they put into preparing for this contest, each team wants only to finally earn what they have worked so hard for. Finally, leaders begin calling out for competitors to gather in their assigned groups. The contest has begun.

FFA judging events cover job skills, ranging from communication to mechanics. Each judging team is specific to a certain skill set, that can be very beneficial later in life.

“You can win scholarships for being part of judging teams in high school,” dairy team member Caitlin Hindmarsh said. “It’s also part of career development; if you stick it out through high school and college, then you can eventually get a job.”

Agricultural science teacher and FFA advisor Katarina Lewandowski coaches two of the judging teams offered by the school: Dairy Judging and Wildlife Judging. Along with her students, Lewandowski has learned better coaching skills.

“I didn’t know anything about wildlife, so I had to learn everything with the kids,” Lewandowski said. “But, they’ve consistently gotten better because of my high expectations.”

Not only are judging teams beneficial for future careers, they also set goals for students, and teach them to adapt a diligent work ethic.

“I like the competition,” Wildlife Judging team member Taylor Burson said.

It was a major accomplishment for the students when they found out that they had finally gotten what they had worked so hard for.

“I’ve always wanted to win a belt buckle at contest,” Hindmarsh said. “It was like a dream come true.”