Continuing a two-year winning streak for the agricultural sciences department, Heather Parks placed first in the FFA Organization’s State Creed Speaking competition in early December in Phoenix.
She will now travel to Indianapolis, Ind. in October 2012 to compete on the national level.
“This is kind of a special contest,” said Jadee Rohner, agricultural sciences teacher.
FFA (formerly Future Farmers of America) holds a public speaking contest every year for students in the seventh through ninth grades.
The core of the competition requires students to memorize the FFA Creed. The Creed consists of five paragraphs that describe the position of the FFA organization, such as a belief in the future of agriculture, hard work, leadership, independence, and tradition, said Rohner.
After presenting the Creed, a panel of judges and teachers ask in-depth questions relating to the Creed.
Rohner shared examples: “What is the struggle of former years? Relate that back to yourself.”
Officials judge students on poise, articulation, personal experience, and presentation skills.
Rohner praised Parks for her skills in memorization, confidence in answering questions and her courage overcoming her natural shyness.
“Heather has the ability to answer questions seamlessly. She’s one of the most intelligent kids in my class,” said Rohner.
Parks and her classmates started the journey to her success in Winslow on Nov. 22 to compete against students from the Northern Arizona FFA districts including Young, Snowflake, Springerville and Sanders. She and Cory Barnett place first and second, said Rohner.
The top two then moved onto the competition in Phoenix on Dec. 2, where they pit their public speaking skills against 15 other students from around the state. Judges picked four students from the initial round to participate in finals.
Parks’ life experiences helped her to stand out and win.
“She overcame so much to be here,” said a judge from Peoria.