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North Callaway board hears FFA competition speaker

North Callaway board hears FFA competition speaker

March 17th, 2017 by Helen Wilbers in Local News

Jaclyn McMurtry's FFA speech, which she presented Thursday before the North Callaway Board of Education, compares her siblings to the United States' agricultural rivals and trading partners.

KINGDOM CITY, Mo. — The note cards in Jaclyn McMurtry's hands shook slightly as she spoke. This was just a practice round — during a competition this spring, she'll need to have her speech memorized.

"My typical day," she began her presentation Thursday at the North Callaway Board of Education meeting.
McMurtry is a Future Farmers of America (FFA) member and senior at North Callaway High School. She's set to participate in the FFA's public speaking competition. She and her fellow competitors don dark blue FFA jackets and give prepared speeches about an agriculture-related topic before a panel of judges.

McMurtry's speech must fall between six and eight minutes in length. Fellow participant Ciara Raithel is in a lower division and only has to give a four- to-six-minute speech.

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"I am the future face of agriculture," Raithel repeats in her speech.

A freshman, this is her first year participating in the FFA speaking competition. She placed first in her division during the fall competition. Her speech includes statistics about the number of women in agriculture and the average age of farmers in America. Participants are scored on including cited facts.

"If this is what she can do this year, I'm eager to see what she'll be doing her senior year," said Jaelyn Peckman, a North Callaway agriculture teacher and coach for the competitors.

She enjoys helping the FFA members gain speaking confidence, and learning with them as they research and prepare their speeches.

"What percentage of people are afraid of public speaking?" Peckman asked. "It's something like 75 percent. This will give them an edge in the workplace and college."

If participants perform well at the regional level, they can compete at the statewide competitions in April, with the potential to make it even further. In 2015, the North Callaway FFA livestock team placed fifth at the national competition.

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