Hermiston FFA Students Return From Successful National FFA Competition


Hermiston FFA students returned to Hermiston on Sunday, after representing Hermiston School District at the FFA National Convention & Expo in Indianapolis, Ind.

The Hermiston Conduct of Chapter Meetings team received a gold team award and individual gold medals in the national Leadership Development Event (LDE). The members were Elle Blakely, Cozette Cooley, Jaydan McKim, Payton Howard, Amy Armstrong, Addison Garberg, and Alexis Castillo. The team advanced to the semi-finals, making it one of the top 12 teams in the entire U.S.

Conduct is one of the hardest team competitions that 9th-grade students can take on, and it includes components of ritual demonstration and parliamentary procedure-based debates.

“The hours that these students put in over the last 10 months is unbelievable,” said FFA co-adviser Sandy McKay. “They have shown a level of dedication that very few high school students possess.”

Blakely was one of only 31 competitors out of 294 to achieve a perfect score on the written test component of the competition.

Kylie Temple placed 4th in the nation and received a gold medal in Employment Skills. The Employment Skills LDE requires extreme dedication to be successful, with the student putting in the extra hours creating a resume and other employment documents, going through dozens of practice interviews, and polishing networking skills.

“Kylie has shown time and again that she is an impressive young lady,” said McKay. “Her work ethic and naturally outgoing personality have aided her in becoming one of the most hirable high school students in the nation.

Ainsley McCann received a bronze medal in the Creed Speaking LDE, the entry-level public speaking contest for first-year FFA members. She won the Oregon State competition as a freshman.

Elizabeth Doherty, Cadence Cooley, Isela Echols, and Hector Leal – the Hermiston FFA Food Science Career Development Event (CDE) team – received a bronze award. Individually, Echols received a silver medal, and Doherty, Cooley, and Leal received bronze medals. Food Science and Technology is a complicated competition that incorporates all components of food safety, handling, and product design.

“Hermiston FFA continues to shine as a program, despite the COVID pandemic, comprehensive distance learning, and multiple program-staffing changes over the last several years,” said Hermiston High School Principal Tom Spoo. “This is a testament to the dedication and resilience of our students, their parents, and the staff. As principal of HHS, I could not be more proud and reassured that our future is bright.”