Penns Manor FFA

Penns Manor FFA members who attended the FFA State Leadership Conference on Oct. 1 are, first row, from left: Allyson Ghiardi, Morgan Baker, Hayden Sturgeon, Keara Patterson, Abigail Lewis and Dylan Kitzmiller. Second row, from left: Casey Naler, Justina Wagner-Smith, Andrew Rhea and James Paynter. (Photo submitted by Jerry Hughes)

From June 11 through 13, members of the group attended the 2019 PA State Convention and Career Development Events and Competitions at Penn State University.

Attending members were Andrew Rhea, Jeremy Rose, Hayden Isenberg, Brock Eshelman, Bailee Britton, Allyson Ghiardi, Megan Schwartz and Morgan Baker. The students were accompanied by Penns Manor Vocational Agriculture teacher Mr. Jerry Hughes.

Britton, Ghiardi and Schwartz competed in a meat evaluation competition in which the students had to identify carcasses and retail cuts of meat and took tests that evaluated their ability to assess the amount of fat in the meat and the quality of the meat. Britton placed third in the state for her performance.

Rose, Isenberg, Eshelman and Rhea judged livestock. They evaluated cows, pigs and sheep and judged them according to market class and breeding class.

Baker competed in a public speaking event. Her performance earned her ninth place in the state. Another purpose of this trip was to help students gain social skills and learn more about what they would like to do in the future.

Although Rhea has shown pigs for 11 years, he said that this experience was very valuable to him as he plans his career as a pig breeder.

“I learned new things about livestock, like how to evaluate them,” he said.

On Oct. 1, Hughes and 10 students attended the FFA Fall Leadership Conference at the Blair Convention Center in Altoona. The students who attended were Baker, president; Allyson Ghiardi, vice president; Secretary Keara Patterson; Treasurer Hayden Sturgeon; Rhea, student adviser; Reporter Abigail Lewis; Chaplain Casey Naler; and new members Dylan Kitzmiller, James Paynter and Justina Wagner-Smith.

At the conference, students were split into groups according to their roles in FFA.

They attended seminars and participated in activities to help them learn more about what is required of their role in the organization.

“I went to the fall leadership to help learn more about my office,” Patterson said,

This experience also affords students the opportunity to practice skills that are useful in their roles within the organization. For example, Sturgeon said that, as treasurer, she participated in an activity in which students had to budget money for a project and then complete the project satisfactorily while still remaining within the budget.

According to Sturgeon, her favorite part of the conference was working with others and networking.

“It includes a lot of teambuilding, and you meet a lot of people,” she said.

Hughes and the club members are looking forward to participating in future conferences and competitions throughout the year because these events allow students to learn skills and information that is useful in FFA and beyond the organization, and it encourages students to meet other students who are involved in the organization in other parts of the state and country.