Hermiston showed well at the Oregon FFA State Convention in Corvallis on March 22-25, with one team placing first in the agriculture issues category.

The Hermiston agriculture issues team took home top honors after battling against 15 to 20 other teams in the category, said FFA advisor Leah Smith.

The team presented on the National School Lunch program, specifically focusing on the Hunger Free Kids act, which made major modifications to the foods used in the program.

Members of the team included seniors Abigail Gray, Amedy Vanderkooy, Lacey McCleary, Brandi White and sophomore Chase Carlson.

In order to qualify for the state competition the team had to take part in a minimum of five high-quality forums or presentations made to community groups that would have an interest in the issue.

Hermiston completed nine forums including the Hermiston School Board, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the division of children nutrition services of the Oregon Department of Education in Salem.

The team will move on to the national convention in Louisville, Ky., where they will compete against 49 other schools in the issues category. The national convention will be held from Oct. 30 to Nov. 2.

Also doing well was the parliamentary procedure team who placed third in state.

Members included seniors Gray, Vanderkooy, Abbye McDonough, junior Zach Vandehey, and sophomores Jaycee Barron and Taylor Katsel.

The parliamentary procedure debated against other schools on over 20 different agriculture topics.

“They didn’t know which topics were going to be chose so they had to be ready for all of them,” Smith said.

Sophomore Jaycee Barron also did well in the sophomore public speaking category, placing in the top eight participants in the category for his four to six minute memorized public speech on wolves.

Smith said the convention is great for students because it teaches them necessary skills that will continue to be advantageous throughout their lives.

“They learn great public speaking skills as well as building useful connections,” she said.

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