Agriculture Education Students Earn Top Honors at National Conference

November 8, 2012

Fourteen students from the UIUC Agricultural Education Program participated in the National Alpha Tau Alpha (ATA) Conclave during National FFA Convention on October 24-26 in Indianapolis, IN. Students competed in five different events, and took top honors in 3 of the 5 areas. Individual competition results were:

Program of Excellence – 1st place:  Danielle Brown, Caitlin Chrzanowski, and Mark McKown
The Program of Excellence Award requires students to present a written summary and oral presentation of activities that are conducted in the Agricultural Education Program throughout the previous year. Students are evaluated in the areas of: Community Service, Professional Development, Fundraising, and Fellowship. The University of Illinois received 1st place in the Community Service and Professional Development divisions, and earned 1st place overall for their Program of Excellence. In addition to earning a small monetary award and a plaque, the program also received a welder, donated by Lincoln Electric.

Parliamentary Procedure – 1st place:  Kirsten Blackford (Chair); Jacob Meisner (Secretary); Jake Ekstrand; Kiersten Kasey; and Mark McKown
The purpose of the Parliamentary Procedure competition is for students to simulate a meeting using Robert’s Rules of Order. Students are evaluated on their knowledge of proper parliamentary law, public speaking ability, and their skill in presenting discussions and motions that relate to a provided topic. The team earned 1st place overall. Jacob Meisner was awarded 1st place Secretary, and the team received 2nd place in the Written Test.

Debate Team – 1st place: Caitlin Chrzanowski, Jacob Dickey, Claire Geiger, and Liz Harfst
The purpose of the debate is to provide members an opportunity to develop and demonstrate their ability to clearly communicate and defend their ideas and positions on a provided topic. Students are evaluated on their knowledge of the topic area, public speaking skills, and ability to effectively communicate their stance on the issue. The team place 1st overall in this competition.

Quiz Bowl – 3rd Place:  Kirsten Blackford, Jake Ekstrand, Lauren Hawker, and Bryanne Kalous
The quiz bowl was conducted in a bracket structure format. Students were asked questions that related to the history of Agricultural Education, teaching strategies, and knowledge of FFA facts.

Essay Competition: Jennifer Boberg, Liz Harfst, and Caroline Hoff
Students were asked to submit an essay prior to the conclave that addressed a specific topic in Agricultural Education. This year’s topic related to Extension’s role in providing education to third world countries to address the hunger issue. Three students from the University of Illinois competed in the event.

ATA is a National Professional Honorary Agricultural Education organization that plays a vital role in the preparation of those who have chosen a major in agricultural education or extension education. The purpose of this organization, as implied in the Preamble, is to promote the highest standards of agricultural education and a more intimate acquaintance and closer relationship with individuals who have chosen a major in agricultural education or extension education. By studying the life, preparation, and personality of great educators, by a better understanding of various aspects of the great vocations in agriculture, and life of the people engaged therein, we aspire to become such agricultural educators as shall wisely and sufficiently lead those who have chosen the vocation of agriculture, into fuller lives of success and happiness.

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