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Tyler Schnaithman Reaches National FFA Creed Finals- That and Other Friday Morning Notes from Indy

Fri, 22 Oct 2010 3:52:30 CDT

Tyler Schnaithman Reaches National FFA Creed Finals- That and Other Friday Morning Notes from Indy

As we get ready for a Friday that could become a big celebration day here for the Oklahoma FFA Association at the 83rd Annual National Convention, here's a few notes to keep in mind. (The picture here is of the FFA Flag flying from the top of one of the Skyscrapers in downtown Indianapolis.)

News came last night that Tyler Schnaithman of the Garber FFA completed the Trifecta for Oklahoma FFA, as Oklahoma's winner of the FFA Creed Speaking Contest at the State Level advanced in the Preliminary Round and the again in the Semis to be a National Final Four Contestant in the FFA Creed Contest. The Finals will be held later this morning- around 11 AM here in Indy, with the results not to be known until the Friday Night General Session at Conseco Fieldhouse. That is also when we will know exactly how Tara Newton and Ashton Mese did in their respective Final Four presentations.

About those two young ladies- I did see Tara's presentation as I was judging a Preliminary Round of the Creed on Thursday morning, but all reports from those in attendance was that this was perhaps the best job that Tara had done at the National Convention in the three times she gave the speech and answered questions. Her speech was well done- and she got good, what she called technical questions that observers thought that she handled very well. We sat down and did an interview with her yesterday- and that will be posted a little later this morning.

I did hear the Extemperaneous Speech that Ashton Mese gave in the National Finals late Thursday morning. When we talked later after the speech, she told us that the speech topics that she had to choose from was not what she was hoping for in the finals. The topic she chose was a discussion of how Estate Taxes (also known as the Death Tax) impacts Agriculture. That's a tough issue for someone who has covered the issue for the past decade to really explain- but Ashton did an excellent job in her speech, then struggled a bit in answering questions that came her way.

I did hear all four presentations in the Extemp Final Four- and I would predict that the Kingfisher FFA standardbearer was one of the top two speakers in that round- and it will just depend on how the judges rate her overall performance versus a young man from Tennessee who did a speech on biofuels- and was not all that accurate on several of his facts about where the industry really is on the current grain based ethanol versus cellulosic ethanol. It's ironic that one of the speeches that could also end up challenging Tara Newton and her chances to hear her name called as a National Winner was about ethanol- but in the case of the Prepared Public Speaking category, the speaker from Washington state was a strong opponent of making fuel from grains that could help feed a hungry world.

Thursday afternoon, the judging of the National Profiency Awards took place, and we will know the results of those deliberations later today- staritng mid afternoon on this Friday. Oklahoma has the most national finalists of any state in the country- and the question is, can we repeat and win more National Titles in the Proficiencies than any other state? The states that are most likely to challenge Oklahoma would be California and Wisconsin- we will be "tweeting" and posting on the website later in the afternoon from Conseco Fieldhouse the results as we have them.

We will also start posting team results as we have them later today as the Career Development Contest information comes trickling in.

Saturday- two pieces of news still await Oklahoma FFA fans. The first will come Saturday morning as we learn if Rusty Kenner of Cheyenne will be the Star in Agribusiness for 2010 or not. The, Saturday afternoon, we will learn the fate of Riley Pagett of Woodward FFA, who is still in the "waiting" mode to learn the decision that has already been made and simply not been released (perhaps the most guarded secret of them all in Indy), that being if he will serve as a National Officer of the organization in the coming twelve months or not.

By the way, several great supporters of Oklahoma FFA will be honored in the morning session- Phil Birkenbile, the current head of the Oklahoma Career Tech System, will be honored with a VIP Citation by the National FFA Organization. Birkenbile started his education career as an Ag Education teacher in Morrison, Oklahoma and has been at the helm of the Career Tech system since 2004. Besides this high honor for Dr. Birkenbile, several Oklahoma agricultural leaders will receive Honorary American Degrees (they used to be called American Farmer Degrees). Among that list- Terry Peach, our current Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture and Mike Spradling, President of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau.



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