FFA Brings Home Seven Awards in 2018 Hawaii State Competition in Hilo

FFA Brings Home Seven Awards in 2018 Hawaii State Competition in Hilo

Chloe Kitsu

     From March 27 to 29, in Hilo, Hawaii, the MHS Future Farmers of America (FFA) Chapter took home numerous awards in different agriculture based competitions, from corsage making, to plant identification, to prepared speech in the Hawaii FFA State Competition.

    A total of seven awards were won by the MHS FFA chapter in their respective competitions.  Junior Chynna Chun and Senior Spencer Jenkins placed first in agricultural demonstration. Juniors Caralyn Yamasaki and Chloe Oshiro placed first in ornamental plant identification. Senior Sierra Grucella and Spencer Jenkins placed first in commodity display. Sophomore Kamryn Shimizu and Spencer Jenkins placed second in corsage making. Sierra Grucella placed second in extemporaneous public speaking. Seniors Kaileen Lardizabal and Josh Watase placed second in ornamental plant identification. Kaitlyn Shimizu placed second in prepared public speaking.

    “It’s really rewarding after all the hard work I put into my speech. It’s also rewarding to see my other fellow chapter members place as well because I know they put in a lot of hard work too,” said President Senior Kaitlyn Shimizu.

    The MHS chapter is known to place well in certain competitions. “I think Mililani FFA, amongst all the different chapters across the state of FFA, we are known for the agricultural demonstration (and) plant identification because those are the ones we always do well in,” said adviser Jeffrey Yamaguchi.

    Prior, FFA worked to prepare for their particular competitions. “So the competitions I did was agriculture demonstration and corsage making. So for agriculture demonstration we reviewed our speech and the process or procedure we were going to perform during the demonstration. And for corsage, we just practiced making a lot of corsages,” said Secretary Jenkins.  

    Some members had to overcome many personal challenges in order to prepare and practice for the competition. “For mines, I’m really shy so when I did prepare, it was kind of nerve-racking because my first competition to get in, it was in front of only three judges; and then the next day it was in front of 177 people,” said Shimizu.  

    For many of the students, the competition gave them the opportunity to meet and connect with other students that share the same interests as them from numerous  schools across the state. “I think just meeting other chapters and seeing that there’s more people with a passion for agriculture because today there’s a lack of it, so just seeing those other chapters was rewarding,” said Shimizu.

    It also gave Yamaguchi time to bond with the students one last time this year, “Just hanging around with these guys, being able to be with them outside of class, it’s more than strictly a teacher-student relationship. It’s more of a mentor type of relationship, more of a fatherly type of relationship, more of a family type of atmosphere we have.”

    When it came to facing challenges, the students proved they could be adaptable. “One of the challenges that we faced is that during the competition—during corsage making—we usually use thin wires, but then at states they used thick wires, so that’s harder to bend so it makes it more difficult to make corsages,” said Jenkins.

    Although the FFA did well, they are still looking at what could be improved in the future. “There’s a number of contests that students can participate in and we participate in half of them. And honestly it’s more because of me, I’m not very well versed in parliamentary procedure or agriculture issues. Everybody has their strengths and weaknesses so I kind of push the kids into my strengths so I can coach them. So I guess the areas for improvements would lie with me more than the students,” said Yamaguchi.

    One of the objectives for years to come is to sustain the program. “The biggest future goal right now is the continuation of FFA at Mililani because I’m retiring; we have a new teacher coming in next year. With all changes there’s apprehension, not the fear but just the unknown of what’s coming up with the new teacher. So these guys, I think the underclassmen, there’s a little apprehension of what to expect next year. So I think the continuation of the program is the biggest emphasis I can give right now,” said Yamaguchi.