Originally Published: January 12, 2010 9:58 p.m.
Chino Valley High School Future Farmers of America (FFA) member Jodi Narvesen was the best extemporaneous speaker at the recent Black Canyon FFA Division Career Development Events at Yavapai College's Chino Valley campus.
She also was the top individual in the Extemporaneous Speaking contest.
Narvesen was one of four Chino Valley FFA members to place in competitions at the district level. J.P. Levi placed second in the FFA Information Contest at the district level and competed in the state contest. Heather Smith was one of the top two in her round in the Creed Competition at the district level and one of four to advance to the state competition. Daniel Grayson competed in the Prepared Public Speaking Contest at the district level.
A junior, Narvesen entered the Extemporaneous Speaking contest because she thought it would be fun. "It was really challenging. I was nervous during the competition, but had a really good feeling when I got done," she said. "I was so scared; I was surprised I won."
Narvesen looks forward to competing at the state level, and hopes she wins there so she can go on to compete at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Ind., in October.
She said competing in speaking contests makes her a better speaker.
Narvesen also plans on being on the chapter's Livestock Judging Team this spring.
Smith said she entered the Creed Speaking Contest on a dare by her best friend. She said Patrick Wellert, agricultural instructor, "fell in love with how I recited the FFA Creed's first paragraph," so she became this year's chapter's creed speaker.
Smith said she got to learn all the background behind the FFA. "It was a great experience," she said. "I am very happy I moved onto state." She said studying acting helped her in the competition.
She also is participating in the chapter's Dairy Cattle Judging Team. Next year she may participate in one of the public speaking contests.
Levi said he learned more about the FFA and how it started. "I wasn't expecting to win (in the Information contest). I figured the other kids would know more about FFA since this is my first year in agriculture (and FFA)," he said.
While he competed against 12 other FFA members at the district level, about 25 competed in the state competition at Arizona State University's Tempe campus on Dec. 4. That competition enabled him to see the ASU campus and watch his friends compete.
Grayson, who spoke on the farmers having water and cities continuing to expand and take it away, said his conclusion was that farmers should invest in smarter ways to irrigate crops so all parties can work together.
Competing in the state competition at ASU let him learn about competing and the stress involved.
Casey Farnsworth, a CVHS agricultural instructor and FFA chapter adviser, said the students participating in the different FFA competitions "gain something that will help them throughout their lives."
He said six of the chapter's 200 members competed in this fall's competitions. More will be competing in the spring competitions - dairy judging, livestock judging, meat judging, management and agriculture mechanics.
Any individual competitor or team placing first in state competition automatically advances to the national FFA competition.