State convention — 22 students competed in Bend over spring break, with four students earning first-place awards

BEND — It may not have been a banner year for Newberg FFA in terms of advancing competitors to the national convention, but the results the Newberg students earned at the Oregon FFA state convention March 21-24 are nothing to sneeze about, either.

Of the 22-person contingent, four individuals earned first-place awards, three students and two teams finished runner-up and a pair of program leaders were awarded their state degrees.

Three of Newberg’s wins came for agriscience experiments, with Israel Pintor coming out on top in Division I (10th-12th grade) food products and processing systems; Katie Nor­agon winning Division II (seventh through ninth grade) in animal systems; and her sister, Karissa, taking first in Division II social systems.

That trio still has a chance to advance to the national convention, as their entries must be submitted for national judging, but otherwise no Newberg students qualified from this competition.

Megan Joyce was awarded first place for her photo series story, with Halstead and Spenser Coleman receiving their state degrees at the convention as well.

Among the second-place finishers were ShaeLee Barnett and Cole Evans, who received awards for their agriscience experiments in Division I plant systems and Division II power structural and technical systems, respectively.

The advanced parliamentary procedure team of Margaret Halstead, Kyle Lutze, Madison Plummer, Cayd Erickson, Shelby Self and Tia Piscitelli finished runner up, as did the knowledge team, which in­cludes Barnett, Peter Gentile, Gage Hannan and Pintor.

Noragon picked up her second award of the competition by placing second in the essay contest.

“Coming away with second-place banners really puts a lot of emphasis on next year; you really want to win,” Erickson said. “We’re a little disappointed, but at the same time, we’re really proud of how we did.”

Gentile, Halstead and Madie Kuhn all earned speaking awards, with Gentile earning third in beginning public speaking, Kuhn taking third in advanced public speaking and Halstead finishing fourth in extemporaneous public speaking.

Derek Harber, John Lom­bardo, Megan Joyce and Erickson also teamed up to finish third in the farm business management team event, while Johanna DeJoria also earned a top-six finish in the job interview category.

Piscitelli, Katie Noragon and McKenzie Halleman also competed at the convention after winning the district competition for the projects/proficiencies in veterinary science, small animal production and goat production, respectively, and Lillia Huiras took part in the photo contest.

A few students will have the opportunity to earn bids to the national convention when the team competes at the upcoming CDE Days career development event at Oregon State University and the Envirothon competition, both of which will be held in May.

“Not many chapters do as well as Newberg does at state year after year,” Erickson said. “I look at it pretty optimistically just because of the quality of the people that come out of our chapter and how we do each year.”

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