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Judging the Best: Riverland College hosts FFA regional contests

Riverland Community College’s West Building was filled with FFA contestants looking to progress from the Region 8 leadership contests to state, Friday, Jan. 31.

During the day, students were judged on work experiences they had done over the year, detailed in paperwork and finally discussed during interviews Friday.

The interviews are made to see if students can communicate their work not just in writing, but also in talking with experts, FFA Adviser Tiffany Timm of LeRoy-Ostrander Schools said.

“If you can type it, can you actually tell it and can you tell us more?” Timm said.

Questions contestants get during the interview can range from explaining how things are done at the job to what their least favorite part of it is, she said.

The students are not necessarily judged on how they speak, but how they handle the interview. They are also judged on the application by how in depth they have answered questions, how complete it is and showing how they have evolved through their job.

Developing these soft skills is something that will help them outside of FFA, Timm said.

“It brings it full circle. Who is going to toot your own horn but you?” Timm said.

Riverland Community College’s West Building was filled with FFA members Friday, as they waited to interview with judges as part of the Region 8 competition.

In many cases, she said FFA members learn that they are able to do things they never thought possible when they do their work projects.

The interviews teach students to assert themselves and show themselves off as the resident expert on something.

“These kids come to us as seventh, eighth or ninth graders and they are so shy. Having the opportunity to do any of these leadership competitions today or fill out state or region FFA award applications for proficiencies, it lets you watch a kid progress,” Timm said.

One of the students who competed was Karter Jax of Southland High School, whose leadership project was working on his family’s dairy farm. He said his greatest success was making sure the farm’s cows stayed healthy. The biggest challenge was making sure the cows were taken care of during extreme weather.

After his interview, he said the process went well and that it has helped him work on communicating with people he does not know.

If they are successful during regional events, FFA members will be able to apply for state competitions, held in March.