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Q & A from Acorn FFA's Advisor, Mr. Pennington
Corryn Holland
Thursday, March 12, 2020

Acorn FFA will participate in the Southern District competition at SAU in Magnolia next Tues. March 17. If they place in the top 8th at district, we will qualify to go to the state contest which will be in Fayetteville at the U of A in April. Below is a Q & A from Mr. James Pennington, the Acorn FFA Advisor.

  

Q:How do you help students prepare for their competitions?

A:As far as preparing students for the competitions, each of our team members has strengths and weaknesses, so we do a lot of individual work that focuses mostly on their weak areas. We try to improve our weak areas to the point where a student will feel confident in the contests no matter what type of skill they have to perform. All team members have to take a written test at each contest that is worth 150 points, so from a team standpoint, that's 600 points. I'll be honest; our test scores are our weakest area. We lose way more points than we should on written tests. I'm trying to come up with some different strategies to study for the written tests that will be more enjoyable. I don't have any problem getting students to practice hands-on skills and problem-solving scenarios, but no one likes to study for the written exam, and I can't say that I blame them (James Pennington, FFA Advisor). 

Q:What do you enjoy most about attending competitions with your students?

A:What I enjoy most about the contests is seeing the students get excited about having success and placing well when we compete. When they start seeing improvement and a little success, then they begin to take it more seriously, and they're not doing it just to get out of school. I like seeing students who start on a team when they are in 9th or 10th grade and improve their skills and knowledge as they progress through school. They begin to realize that the things we study in class have a "real-life" application that helps them succeed in the competition or, in some cases, can lead to a good and well-paying career option with further training. Building competitive FFA teams is a lot like building an athletic team; if you have juniors and seniors, you have to have younger students who are serious and willing to put in the time and effort to take the place of the older members when they graduate. This year Caleb Reynolds has done well at the contests we've been to. He's just a 10th grader, and it's his first year to be on the Ag. Mechanics team so we'll have him for two more years (James Pennington, FFA Advisor)