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Vergennes FFA students shine in Louisville

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Members of the Vergennes Union FFA Chapter in Vermont joined teams from around the United States at the 87th National FFA Convention & Expo in Louisville this month.
VUHS FAA adviser Bill Van De Weert said his crew did “great work representing Vermont on the national level.”
A trio of Vergennes teens, led by coach Harmon S. Boyce Jr. and adviser Van De Weert, was awarded a Silver emblem in the Agricultural Technology and Mechanical Systems Career Development Event (CDE). Members also competed for individual awards with 155 other participants, and in those competitions Jacob Birchmore, Bradley Correia and Troy Verburg each received Silver emblems.
The National FFA Agricultural Technology and Mechanical Systems CDE is a competitive event that allows students to apply classroom knowledge to real-life situations. Activities included in the event are a written exam, a team event, demonstration of problem-solving skills, and hands-on performance activities. Areas of emphasis include environmental and natural resource systems, machinery and equipment systems, structural systems, energy systems and electrical systems. Each team in the event has competed with other chapters in their state for the privilege of participating in the national event.
Meanwhile, Caleb Dion of the Vergennes Union FFA Chapter was one of 43 participants in the National FFA Job Interview CDE. He earned a Bronze emblem and was coached by Suzanne Buck.
This competition tests students’ ability to perform effectively throughout the entire job application process. The participants prepare a résumé and cover letter and complete an online application. They also participate in phone, one-on-one and panel job interviews as part of the competition.
Also, four members of the Vergennes FFA participated in the Farm Business Management CDE. The team of Gabriel Smits, Breanna De Smit, Nick Jackson and Nicole Stearns, led by adviser Van De Weert, was awarded a Bronze emblem. In individual competition, Smits earned a Silver emblem, and De Smit, Jackson and Stearns received Bronze emblems.
This competition tests the ability of students to apply economic principles and concepts in analyzing farm and ranch business management decisions. Participants respond to questions concerning economic principles in farm business management as well as a problem-solving analysis section.
In addition to the competitions, Shawnna Vander Wey spent the week shadowing VUHS alum Devin Parker, current Vermont FFA president.
The FFA events were held at the Kentucky Exposition Center and the Brown Hotel in Louisville.

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