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FFA competitions offer wide range of learning experiences

friday, may 13, 2011

team’s scenario was to create the best BY ANNE FINCH assistant editor possible sports drink for inactive young Future Farmers of America (FFA) is an organization associated with the agriculture-related courses at Consol, ranging from horticulture to food and animals. The FFA covers not only a large percentage of the elective classes at Consol, but also provides opportunities to compete with FFA groups from other schools around the state. Just one small area of the FFA competitions is the Food Science team, advised by faculty member Lisa Pieper, who teaches several FFA-related classes, including Food Tech. “I like how the kids, especially with food science, are able to take and create their own ideas and apply them to the contest,” Pieper said. “[When they take my classes], the kids are training already for the team, and they don’t realize it. So when they can relate the coursework to the competition and see the validity in it, that is exciting for me.” Senior Mariah Chambers, one of the four members of both the Food Science team as well as the Floriculture team, started her involvement in FFA by taking Pieper’s Floral Design class as a junior. She and the other three members of the Food Science team compete by testing their food-related skills at various competitions. “[For] Food Science, they give us a scenario, and you have 60 minutes to come with marketing for it, and you go in front of judges and present that in front of them and they score you,” Chambers said. For this year’s competition, Chambers and Pieper said, the Food Science

adults, using a worksheet with a list of possible ingredients. “We had the scenario that it was a sports drink, but we didn’t know who it was for,” Chambers said. “We had to do tons of research on everything about sports drinks and put as much as we could in our brains because [we couldn’t] bring anything in.” This aspect of the contest is more difficult, junior Kristen Kasper said. “For Food Science, it’s not something you can really prepare for. You might have a few questions you can look over, but basically, once you’re there, it’s all new. You just have to think while you’re there,” she said. Additionally, members of the Food Science competitive team have to perform a sensory evaluation where 10 out of 30 different seasonings and flavors must be identified by smell. The participants are also presented with a control and two other food items and must taste it and identify the taste that does not match the control. Another component of the competition is the identification of mistakes made in pictures of situations relating to the food industry. Chambers stated that one of her favorite aspects of competing as part of the FFA competition team is the teamwork involved in the competitions. “During the competitions, we’re all split up, so it’s kind like of we’re competing against each other,” she said, “So when you get back your scores, it’s kind of like ‘Yes, I beat her!’ [However], at the same time, it’s good to be competitive against each other because it brings up our overall team score, and it’s the team

score that matters, not the individual.” Chambers added that competing together formed a bond between the four members of the Food Science team. “A lot of us really didn’t know each other when we formed the team, but through practicing and just being together, we’ve all grown really close,” she said. Although the FFA covers a wide variety of subjects and activities, it provides students with an opportunity to meet new people and explore new interests, while developing new skills that can be used in a competitive environment. “To me, [FFA is about] friends, family and opportunity,” Kasper said. “These are people I love to be around. My teachers are my second parents. I’m always here. It’s just fun. It’s a great way to meet new friends and meet new people, go on trips and it’s just a bonding experience.”

Junior Paige Littlefield practices for food science competitions by identifying the spice in the vial by smell. Littlefield and the rest of the food science team placed sixth in state. PHOTO BY RACHEL KAGLE

Raising the Stakes for State Ag Mechanics - first in area, first in state

Job Interviews - first in district, third in area

Floriculture - third in area, fifth in state

Grand Champion: Horticulture

Food Science - sixth in state

Grand & Reserve Champion: Woodworking

Horse Judging - eighth in area, thirteenth in state

Grand & Reserve Champion: Market Barrow Information provided by Sheridan Clinkscales

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Vol. 16 Issue 6  
Vol. 16 Issue 6  

The last issue of the Roar for the 2010-2011 school year, including senior pages.

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