INDIANAPOLIS- It is just starting to sink in to Sweet Springs' sophomore Heath Snider that on Friday, Oct. 21, out of the beginning pool of over 100,000 students, he was named the National Creed Speaking champion at the 84th National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Ind.
The first reaction to the announcement made on stage and live on RFD-TV, was shock, according to Sweet Springs FFA advisor Kristen Fenner.
"They usher you on and usher you off real quick," she said, adding soon after he was being interviewed by national farm broadcasters. "He was kind of shaking and it hadn't actually sunk in yet that he had actually won the whole thing."
Fenner, who had helped him with many hours of preparation for giving the speech and with preparing for questions from the judges, said she was "crying like a proud mom."
Snider had also spent many hours reciting the creed for his family.
After the announcement on Thursday that Snider had made it into the top four and would be honored on stage, his mother was able to take off work and travel to the convention with other Sweet Springs parents, Fenner said.
In order to become one of the 49 students representing their states at the national convention, Heath had won the Area, District and State Creed Speaking contests last spring. Through each Fenner said they had taken each competition "one step at a time," relying on their faith.
Going into the national contest she said the first goal was for Heath to make it through the preliminary round.
"No kid from Missouri has ever made it past preliminaries," she said, adding the national creed speaking contest wasn't added until 2003.
In all, he had to give the creed three times and answer questions, before competing in the final round on Friday.
The National FFA Creed Speaking CDE is designed to recognize outstanding FFA members for their ability to present the National FFA Creed in a competitive setting, according to a press release. Members deliver the Creed from memory and respond to three questions.
The event gives FFA members the opportunity to develop their ability to "communicate in a powerful, organized and professional manner."
The final results:
Top Placing Individuals
1st Place-- Heath Snider of Sweet Springs FFA
2nd Place-- Laura Ritchey of Central FFA, PA
3rd Place-- Blair Kloeppel of Kingfisher FFA, OK
4th Place-- Morgan Barron of Bend FFA, OR
The top four individuals were also named "Gold Emblem" individuals and received $1,000 stipends to attend the Washington D.C. Leadership Conference.
The stipends and the Creed speaking event is sponsored by CHS of Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota and the National FFA Foundation.
Over 55,000 FFA members from across the United States, including many from Saline County, attended the national conference held Oct. 19-22.
On the web: https://www.ffa.org.