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Lola McIlhenney and Natalee Litchfield among top 12 in state for job interview contest

Two Molalla FFA chapter members ranked in the top 12 for the state job interview contest this year: Lola McIlhenney and Natalee Litchfield. Ultimately, Litchfield brought home the fourth-place prize.

"We are so proud of both of our students who competed in the state contest," said adviser Mackenzie Behrle. "It shows a lot of gumption and perseverance on both of them that they continued on in their competition through adversity and uncertainty."

COURTESY PHOTO: MACKENZIE BEHRLE - Senior Natalee Litchfield places fourth in the state FFA job interview contest, held online April 17.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was not held in a traditional in-person format. Rather, the FFA members had to adjust to an online format for the competition, held April 17, with students across the state competing, according to Behrle.

"The Oregon FFA Association did an excellent job coordinating the event and making every effort to keep the rigor of this contest intact in a virtual format," Behrle said.

Behrle helped the students prepare for the virtual competition by setting up a variety of practice interviews with many of Behrle's colleagues and friends.

Prior to the event, students submitted resumes, cover letters and letters of recommendation that judges later scored.

Then, they interviewed for a hypothetical job of their choice that matched real-life skills they had gained through high school, work experience and in FFA, according to Behrle.

For the contest, McIlhenney applied for a hypothetical sales position at Food Waves, a local organization that helps cultivate food justice and access to healthy food within Clackamas County, Behrle said. McIlhenney has volunteered at the organization before.

Litchfield applied for a hypothetical journalism internship position at Capital Press, the leading agriculture publication in the Pacific Northwest, Behrl said. Litchfield has a great deal of journalism experience, including having written freelance stories for the Molalla Pioneer. She also has attended two summer internship programs — one sponsored by The New York Times and the other held at Princeton University.

The results were announced on the Oregon FFA Facebook page on April 22.

The National FFA organization, originally "Future Farmers of America" until a name-change in 1988, is "dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education," according to

To find out more about the organization, visit the website or the Oregon FFA Facebook page.

Kristen Wohlers
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