Although it was a test, it was also a competition for 1,337 FFA members from 54 high schools who participated in the second Marshall FFA Alumni Judging Day on Wednesday, March 14.
The students were tested in 14 Career Development Events (CDE) ranging from Agronomy to Poultry judging. Each spring, FFA members travel to different schools for similar contests to help prepare for district CDE contests. Marshall FFA traveled to Brunswick last week and will attend two more practice contests before district competition starts in April.
"People found out about it," she said. "They knew from last year it was a good contest, that we had the facilities to hold everybody. A lot more people were willing to come in and try it out this year."
The day also offered an opportunity for older career center students to take the Testing Skills Assessment (TSA) required by the state.
The students' T-shirts also pointed out the distance many schools traveled: Iberia, Marceline, Savannah, Blue Springs South...
"We had a school that spent the night in a hotel in Columbia so they could get here, because it would have been five hours for them to drive," said Dobbins. That school, Elsberry, is located on Missouri's eastern border, north of St. Louis.
Those in attendance were very complimentary of the contest which began at 9 a.m., and was finished up for most students by noon.
"People loved the college facility," Dobbins said, praising Missouri Valley College for their help. Besides the gym, testing was scattered at several sites on the campus. "It's just a great place to have it."
The livestock, horse, poultry and meat judging contests were held at the Saline County Fairground. Ag mechanics testing was held at the Saline County Career Center.
"We didn't have them all in one place, because we tried to get kids who were going off site onto buses, so that it wasn't so congested in the gym," Dobbins explained.
Despite the large number of students, she said the contest went very smoothly. A lot of that was credited to lessons learned last year.
"I help a lot with the floral contest and you just learn," Dobbins said. "This year instead of having one set of flowers and one set of tools, we were able to double that and had two sets. That just makes it goes faster for the kids."
Dobbins praised area businesses and volunteers for all their help.
"We couldn't have done it without the number of volunteers from the community, as well as ag teachers who come in and volunteer," she said. "We coordinate it, but they take it on and do a tremendous job of setting it up and running everything. It just amazes me they are willing and able to help."
Results from the contest will be at https://www.judgingcard.com
Pictures from today's events are posted at: http://www.marshallnews.com/gallery/1108...
Contact Marcia Gorrell at firstname.lastname@example.org