by Lisa Tome
The FFA members from Cecil's School of Technology are outstanding in their field.
They aren't bad in the greenhouse either.
The team, coached by teacher Jeremy Sedgwick, earned both a team win and an individual first place in the State FFA contest held recently. Team members Dylan Day, Madison Rice, and Elizabeth Westbrook of North East High and Brett Page of Perryville High earned the team win. Day also picked up an individual title.
In order to earn the team win the group had to identify plants and equipment. They also had to identify plant disorders and diseases and insect impact on plants. "All they have to do is pay attention (in class) and they will get it," said Sedgwick.
Additionally, the team was given a scenario where they had to come up with a marketing plan and presentation. They were tested during both the planning and marketing phases by judges.
"It was pretty hard - the plant identification. Not all the ones we learned were on there. But I am excited to go to Louisville," said Day.
Westbrook described what it was like to plan for the scenario portion of the project while being watched by a judge. "It was pretty difficult for us to talk and walk through that. It made it hard to communicate having a judge there the whole time," said Westbrook.
Rice has never flown on a plane. She said earning the win and the trip has left her both excited and nervous.
The statewide win earned the team a trip to FFA Nationals in Louisville, Kentucky in the fall. There, they will compete against more than 55,000 students from all over the U.S. They will have to demonstrate the same skills as they did at states. They will also have to demonstrate expanded customer service skills, write a response to a customer complaint, and be tested on propagation.
"This is an excellent program. The students get to put to practical use the things they learned right here in class," said Sedgwick.
In order to make the trip to Kentucky, from October 29-November 1, the team needs to raise about $3,000 for travel and lodging to compete.
They are holding fundraisers and selling items, such as popcorn that they've grown, at the school. They are also selling plants and coffee. Anyone who would like to donate to help the team make the trip may donate to Cecil School of Technology in care of FFA Trip at 900 North East Road, North East, MD 21901. Donations are tax deductible.