FFA Takes Multiple Wins Home At Kauai State CTSO Competition


By Cameryn Oshiro
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(Photo courtesy of Sierra Grucella (11)) After competing at the district competition, many FFA members were able to qualify for the state convention held at Kauai Community College.

Future Farmer’s of America (FFA), a Career and Technical Students Organization (CTSO) program, competed at their state convention held at the Kauai Community College from March 29-31. Students were given the opportunity to show judges their skills and what they’ve learned through developing and competing in either a team or individual project and event. MHS winners included Seniors Alicia Hara, Isabel Masiglat and Juniors Sierra Grucella, Kaileen Lardizabal and Spencer Jenkins.

“(FFA) is a national organization that promotes agriculture. It guides the members into their future careers by teaching them skills that are applicable to everyday life such as leadership and effective communication. Everything taught by FFA allows for personal growth,” expressed Masiglat, who placed first in agricultural demonstration with her partner Lardizabal and placed second in corsage making with Junior Mya Ann Tsubaki.

During the CTSO convention, students were judged on material that they’ve researched throughout the school year; in FFA, students look into the agricultural field of cultivation, farming and other aspects. “(FFA) is a place for members, nationwide, to explore possible careers and develop skills that will be needed in the future. At conventions we get to know a lot of different professionals and advisers that give us information on what they do and how it relates to agriculture. FFA is an eye opener for young adults to see what is available in the world of agriculture,” stated Grucella, who won first place in the job interview event.

The field of agriculture provides a variety of careers and opportunities that reach beyond farming. “Agriculture is more than just farming. There’s a lot of aspects of agriculture that requires bachelors, graduates, research. So in preparing students, we try to do it (on) a large scale and (explore) the possibilities. There is more than just that farming aspect that everybody thinks agriculture is,” explained FFA adviser Jeffrey Yamaguchi.

Students were given the opportunity to choose from a variety of events, including agriculture demonstration and ornamental place identification. “The job I chose to research and apply for was Agriculture Inspector. I have done a lot of work (for) various programs that allowed me to obtain the skills needed to be prepared for that specific job. Knowing that I (have) been interested in those programs, I moved in the direction of Agriculture Inspector for my job application,” explained Grucella. “I competed in the agriculture demonstration contest and the corsage contest,” Masiglat stated. “Our demonstration was on how to construct a fruit fly trap. Well, fruit flies are pests that destroy plants, so we created a budget-friendly way to control the fruit flies.”

Based on their preparation, the judges graded the competitors on multiple levels, such as professionalism and delivery. “To prepare for competition, my partner and I had to memorize a script and had to learn how to construct the fruit fly trap. I was the person who was building the trap for the demonstration so (Lardizabal) had to speak (at) the same time I was constructing. Basically, it was a difficult process (getting the timing right). We also had to become experts on our topic because the judges asked us questions after the presentation,” said Masiglat. “My advisers gave me a lot of resources to study so I would be prepared for competition. I was given information about posture, voice projection and other tools that would help me in the interview itself,” said Grucella.

In Hawaii, exposing high school students and young adults into the field of agriculture is essential, as it plays a large role in the economy. “Agriculture is important in Hawaii for the simple reason that we have to try to produce more of our own foods,” explained Yamaguchi. “Right now, I see a lot of statistics saying we import around 80 percent of our food. If something were to happen—a natural disaster, an act of terrorism—we’re (going to) be basically cut off. We need to be able to fend for ourselves. It’s kind of the ‘in’ thing, I see a lot in the newspaper, the Star Advertiser and the legislators and people: they keep talking about sustainability. To me, that’s the wrong word. We should be using the word ‘self-sufficient.’ We can be sustainable at 15 percent; we need to increase that to maybe 50 percent. And now, if we increase our production we have to have the wholesale and retail ability to handle all this increase in produce and the infrastructure. It’s not just the farming aspect we need to pump up but everything along the way to the producing and consuming has to be expanded.”

With the state competition over, FFA will continue to encourage students of the agriculture field into the next school year as the CTSO conventions start up again. Through exploring a diverse field of careers, FFA provides the tools and experiences students need to discover what they want to pursue in their future.