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Jamestown FFA students attend national convention

The students took in workshops and other activities.

Jamestown FFA 2022.jpg
These four Jamestown FFA students attended the National FFA Convention recently in Indianapolis. From left: Tamika Holte, Evyn Dick, Tyra Kamoni-Hatch and Riley Widman.
Contributed / Allison Nord
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JAMESTOWN – Four Jamestown FFA students and their adviser say attending the National FFA Convention & Expo last month helped them develop skills and learn about agriculture in other parts of the U.S.

Evyn Dick, Tamika Holte, Tyra Kamoni-Hatch and Riley Widman, students at the James Valley Career and Technology Center, and their adviser, Allison Nord, an ag education teacher, attended the convention of the National FFA Organization in Indianapolis from Oct. 24-30.

FFA is an intracurricular student organization for those interested in agriculture and leadership, according to the national website, https://www.ffa.org . The organization prepares members for leadership and careers in the science, business and technology of agriculture.

This is the first time in at least 10 years since the Jamestown FFA chapter has attended a national convention, Nord said.

The group was among 28 students and five advisers from Jamestown, Gackle-Streeter, Beulah and Glen Ullin traveling together to the event, Nord said.

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For Dick and Holte, who are seniors at Jamestown High School, attending was an opportunity to experience a national convention, having previously attended state meetings and serving as local chapter officers. For Kamoni-Hatch and Widman, who are juniors from Pingree-Buchanan High School, it was as newcomers a chance to see what other kids’ projects were and learn more about FFA.

“It was a really eye-opening experience,” Dick said.

Holte agreed.

“I’d say the leadership was really a big part but also the career and fair expo was a big part of it,” she said. “I learned a lot and experienced a lot of what we can do for FFA chapter and just broadening our .. visions for our next careers.”

Thirty-two North Dakota FFA members were recognized at the convention for receiving the American Degree, the highest level one can achieve from the National FFA Organization. Nord said one of the Beulah students they traveled with to the event, Karlee Sailer, was among the recipients.

“Less than 1 percent of all members receive their American Degree throughout their membership in FFA, so it’s a really prestigious award,” Nord said.

The Jamestown FFA has 12 active members, Nord said, noting the group is in a rebuilding process.

“FFA is actually the world’s largest student organization with over 850,000 members across the United States and the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico,” she said. “The National FFA (Convention) is one of the biggest gatherings of our group’s organization.”

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She said almost 70,000 members, advisers and guests attended the October event, which included conferences, workshops and leadership sessions.

“The career expo had a bunch of different colleges from across the nation that kids could go and talk to representatives from those colleges and kind of get a gauge as to what classes they offer there, what majors and minors,” Nord said “... as well as participate in student workshops that had different leadership seminars and guest speakers to listen to ...”

Along with the sessions, they toured Rooted In Red, a cranberry farm in Wisconsin.

“We’re used to corn and soybeans and cattle and we’ve never really been out and seen the other opportunities or crops and so it showed us that throughout the country it just takes all different sorts of people and different sorts of land to make everything run smoothly,” Widman said.

The students also visited Churchill Downs, the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory and took in a rodeo and Lauren Alaina and Jimmie Allen concert.

“We’d like to say a big thank you to all of our community sponsors,” Dick said. “This trip wouldn’t have been possible without you and we are very grateful.”

With the national convention over, the Jamestown FFA members said they will focus on upcoming events.

“We’re looking forward to a successful livestock judging season and we’re also hoping to compete in dairy handling or dairy evaluation at state convention next summer, " Dick said, "and we’re also hoping to be successful in that.”

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Students who win at the state level in competition this school year can compete next year at the national convention, Nord said.

For more information on Jamestown FFA or to follow the group, visit their page on Facebook at Jamestown ND FFA or on Instagram at @jamestownndffa.

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Kathy Steiner has been the editor of The Jamestown Sun since 1995. She graduated from Valley City State College with a bachelor's degree in English and studied mass communications at North Dakota State University, Fargo. She reports on business, government and community topics in the Jamestown area. Reach her at 701-952-8449 or ksteiner@jamestownsun.com.
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