Five students have already advanced to state competition

Contributed photo
Haley Hanson, Emily Hanson, Ivy Witt and Kendall Koenen are four of the five Henning students who have already qualified for state FFA. Monica Hansen also qualified for state in speech. The state FFA competition is set for April in the Twin Cities.

By Chad Koenen


Just over six months after the Henning School FFA program got off the ground for the first time in several decades, five members of the still-young program are gearing up for a trip to the state competition. 

Contributed photo
Monica Hansen (middle), advanced to the state FFA competition in speech. State FFA will be held at the end of April.

Monica Hansen received first place in the regional prepared public speaking competition in Willmar, while the food science and technology team of Kendall Koenen, Haley Hanson, Ivy Witt and Emily Hanson placed second at a region competition in Paynesville to also qualify for state. 

All of the students, with the exception of one, said at least one of their parents were involved in FFA during their time in high school. They said their parents encouraged them to try the program when it was formed once again this fall at Henning School. 

Ivy said her dad was involved in the Henning FFA when he attended high school, while Haley and Emily said their dad was president of the local FFA when he was in school. Monica said both of her parents were also involved in FFA and spoke highly of the opportunities the organization provided them in high school.

All five of the students said they have enjoyed the opportunity to try the new organization at Henning School, while also being able to meet a new group of people from other schools during the day of competition. 

“You get to go to new places and meet new people,” said Ivy. 

Monica agreed that she has enjoyed the opportunity to meet new people as part of FFA and is looking forward for the opportunity to represent Henning at the state competition in April. 

“(I’m looking forward to) getting to compete at state in the first year they have had it back,” said Monica. 

As part of FFA students can pick from a variety of categories to compete in at regional competitions. The categories range from animals to food science, speeches and pretty much everything in-between. Monica said she chose speeches because “it was the one that peaked my interest.”

The Henning sophomore placed first at the regional competition in the category of Prepared Public Speaking Leadership Development Event in Willmar earlier this year. As part of the category, Monica wrote and delivered a 6-8 minute speech about a current agriculture-related topic. She was required to research a topic of interest and then put together a creative, informative speech. The speech is then presented to a panel of judges, who score the student based on the content, composition and delivery of the speech.

The Food Science and Technology Team placed second in the regional competition in Paynesville at the beginning of February. The team competes both individually, as well as a team for a combined team score. 

Haley said she chose the category as she really enjoys the opportunity to bake, while Ivy said she chose the category as it was one of the only things that really interested her at the time. She is also credited with convincing Kendall and Emily to not only join FFA, but to join the food science team. 

As part of the team competition, students respond to a product development scenario describing the need for a new or redesigned product that appeals to a potential market segment. The team’s task is to design a new food product or reformulate an existing product based on information contained within the product development scenario. 

The team also completed a food safety and sanitation activity. As individuals, an objective test, a problem solving practicum, sensory evaluation and a food safety practicum are completed to count toward the team score.

Individually, Kendall placed second in the region, while Haley took fourth, Ivy placed fifth and Emily placed ninth. All of the team members are in either seventh or eighth grade. 

In addition to the five people who advanced to state, the Henning FFA program has been making quite a name for itself at a variety of competitions this year. 

Ella Horn placed fifth in the Dairy Handler competition at North Dakota State University recently, while the Fish and Wildlife team of Eli Reinbold, Jack Reinbold and Logan Kostelecky placed 15th at NDSU. The Agriculture Mechanics team of Colton Jacobs and Adrian Jones took 14th at the state meet at NDSU.