FFA Students Participate In Public Speaking Competition


Future Farmers of America (FFA) members Kate Gross and Lydia Miller participated in the Adams, Franklin, and York Area Public Speaking Competition on March 24.

Both qualified after competing at the York County Public Speaking Career Development Event. They recited their speeches and Gross qualified in the top three, allowing her to move on in the competition. Miller was a runner up, and because one of the top three could not attend the event on March 24, she was able to participate.

Gross competed in the junior prepared competition with her persuasive speech on why people should dehorn their cattle, and she placed fifth.

“Her argument was that it led to less of a chance of injury for the farmer, less injury to cattle, and you are able to house, feed, and transport more at once,” explained FFA teacher Hannah Harris.

Miller competed in the senior prepared division with her speech on diversifying traditional farms with aquaponics. This is the practice of growing plants without soil; instead, they are grown in water and fish supply the nutrients that the plants need to thrive. Her primary argument was that farmers can create additional income for their farms if they use this kind of farming as well as more traditional forms. She placed seventh place.

“The advantages are year-round growth, faster yield, and it’s a relatively low startup cost,” Harris explained.

To participate in the competition, students had to choose persuasive topics that involve agriculture. Harris worked with students to choose appropriate topics for their speeches and to outline together.

At that point, students write their drafts at home and submit them to Harris for content suggestions.

“After we [were] both happy with the content, they [took] it to an English teacher to be reviewed,” Harris said.

After the speech is complete, students began working on the public speaking part of the competition. They have to deliver the speech several times in order to be comfortable delivering it and to memorize it.

Harris said she would give them feedback during class practice, but that she encouraged them to deliver the speeches during FFA meetings, before and after class, and at home as well.

They both spent hours writing and practicing speeches for the contest. “It took a lot of hard work, but it ended up being fun,” Gross said.