The Kentucky FFA Association provides numerous opportunities for students to succeed, whether those students are in high school or college.
The William “Bill” Cherry Expo Center and College Farm Complex hosted this year’s State Horse Judging Career Development Event (CDE), Veterinary Science CDE and State Horsemanship Contest with the Kentucky FFA Association.
More than 350 high school FFA students visited Murray State’s campus to compete in the variety of contests organized by the University and the Kentucky FFA Association Nov. 20.
The contests provided high school students with chances to compete against other FFA members across the state of Kentucky.
The Horse Judging CDE consists of several events that allowed FFA members to evaluate a variety of horses based on their physical appearance and structure. There are also events in which Murray State students rode the horses and FFA members evaluated the horses’ performance in each event such as Western Pleasure or Trail Class.
Matt Papineau, junior from Marion, Ky., served as a judge at the event for students giving oral reasons in the Horse Evaluation CDE.
Papineau was responsible for deciphering FFA members’ ability to convince him of the reasons as to why they placed their class of horses in the rank they chose.
“FFA members gain a lot of communication experience and impromptu speaking abilities by presenting oral reasons to a judge,” Papineau said. Papineau said by hosting the FFA members here at Murray State, they have the chance to not only participate in a state contest, but they also get to see the University and the facilities that we have here.
According to the mission statement of the Kentucky FFA Association, their purpose is to make a positive difference in the lives of high school and college students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.
“Last night, the Collegiate FFA provided a cookout meal to FFA members traveling to Murray State from across the state of Kentucky,” Papineau said. “They got to meet some Murray State students who have the same interests as them as well as mingle and learn what college life is really about.”
The Hutson School of Agriculture had student organizations help organize the state-wide CDE.
Alyx Shultz, state horse evaluation contest coordinator, said more than 100 Murray State students volunteered their time to help at the expo center during the CDE.
Shultz said the best undergraduate population at Murray State are found in the Hutson School of Agriculture.
“To have our undergraduates out there interacting with high school students showing them that college is more than just classroom learning is a huge benefit to both levels of students,” Schultz said.
Shultz said the program is an extreme benefit to agricultural education students because in just a few short years, those students could be bringing FFA chapters of their own, as advisers, to this contest.
“What better way to prepare future teachers for bringing their students to this event than by having them organize it?” Shultz said.
She said the winner from this CDE will go on to compete in the national level competition in fall of 2014.
Said Shultz: “Each year, this CDE just gets a little bigger and a little better, and we’re just looking forward to seeing what next year’s event brings to our campus.”
Story by Alex Mahrenholz, Staff writer