Plymouth High School Poultry Evaluation Team members, from left, Louis Gentine, Hannah Schultz, Anna Seifert and Jack Seifert earned a Silver Team Award at Nationals.
Posted December 3, 2018
Two state winners from Plymouth High School advanced to compete at the 91st National FFA Convention and Expo.
The PHS Poultry Evaluation team coached by Don Mier won the state-level competition in April and earned a Silver Medal after taking 24th at the national competition.
In addition, senior Anna Kitzerow won the state-level competition for Extemporaneous Speaking and received a Bronze Emblem at Nationals.
Extemporaneous Speaking competitors pick three topics blindly, then choose one of the three to address. Anna’s topic at Nationals was “How can small farmers use technologies to stay competitive in a global market that is becoming increasingly sophisticated?”
To research their chosen topic, competitors are allowed to bring five resources, plus at the national level they get 10 minutes for online research. That internet time proved crucial for Anna after many of her resources were disqualified because rather than print out webpages with ads she copied and pasted articles into Word documents to save space; that was allowed at the state level but not at Nationals.
At both levels of competition, students have 30 minutes to prepare a 4- to 6-minute speech. They then deliver it to a panel of judges, who also ask questions at the end.
The poultry team was surprised by its state victory, as most top teams are made up of seniors. The PHS team consists of Jack Seifert, then an eighth-grader; Hannah Schultz, then a freshman; Anna Seifert, then a sophomore; and Louis Gentine, then a junior.
Beginning in July, the team practiced almost every week, with live birds, with eggs, by cutting up carcasses, and by taking practice tests, watching videos, and reading articles.
Poultry Evaluation is more than just deciding if a chicken looks nice or not, Anna said. “People think it’s easy, but it has a lot of components.”
The national competition ran from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 24 in Indianapolis. Half was hands-on judging; half was a test on grading standards, poultry management and related topics. Students judged chickens, identified and graded meat parts, and performed candling and evaluated the external qualities of eggs. Often they had to give reasons to support their answers.
Most of the competition is done individually, but there was a team activity that involved presenting solutions for a fictional company experiencing problems with its egg hatch rate. In the individual competition, Jack, Anna and Hannah received Silver Emblems, and Louis received a Bronze Emblem.
Although all of the team members have at least one more year of eligibility within FFA, they will be looking for new challenges. The state winner in any given event is not allowed to compete in that event again.
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Plymouth High School student Anna Kitzerow took first in state Extemporaneous Speaking competition and represented Wisconsin at Nationals.