On November 20th, 48 Shafter FFA students traveled to Independence High School to compete in the FFA Opening and Closing speech contest. This is one of the largest speech contests in the South Valley Section with over 400 members competing on teams from ten different schools. FFA members participate by reciting the FFA opening and closing ceremonies. This is the first public speaking contest for our freshmen students and offers a taste of competition, teamwork, and achievement.
The purpose is not only to teach the students valuable public speaking skills, but also to encourage and motivate them to increase their involvement and take advantage of all the opportunities that the FFA organization has to offer.
Shafter FFA had a successful year. Our Novice Team consisting of Andrew Diaz, Hailey Cruz, Nataly Ramirez, Chloeann Cantu, Ashlynn Martinez, and Ellie Flud placed 3rd. Our Open Blue Team consisting of Valeria Gomez Diaz, Isis Brownlow, Azuzena Ortiz, Anthony Hipolito, Asia Escobedo, and John Spencer placed 2nd in their division. Nataly Ramirez was awarded Novice Outstanding Secretary. Asia Escobedo in her final opening and closing contest for Shafter FFA earned the Outstanding Reporter in the Blue Room.
This was also the first year that South Valley FFA offered the opening and closing speech contest in Spanish. Nathael Samano, Yarely Urias, Joneli Lule, Nancy Maldonado, Anahi Gonzalez, and Esmeralda Castro placed second in the Spanish division as a team. Yarely Urias was the Outstanding Vice President and Anahi Gonzalez was the Outstanding Reporter in the Spanish division.
Isis Brownlow, a senior with Shafter FFA, commented: “The opening and closing contest was the first time I was able to break out of my shell as a freshman. Before the contest I rarely talked and wouldn’t have dreamed of speaking publicly. After competing as a freshman, I was excited about the opportunities available to me through FFA and I have competed in almost all the public speaking contests that are offered. This contest specifically, changed my entire high school career.”
Ellie Flud, a Shafter Freshman, said, “the contest helped me be less shy and I am excited for future contests with FFA.”
Ashlynn Martinez commented, “not only did I enjoy competing but I also got to meet new people that I will get to see over the next four years at other contests.”