By Abbey Nickel and Lauren Schwab
LOUISVILLE – In the seventh general session, the winners of the Creed Speaking, Extemporaneous Public Speaking, Job Interview and Prepared Public Speaking Career Development Events were announced.
- 2014 Creed Speaking winner: Kale Parker, Oklahoma
- 2014 Extemporaneous Public Speaking winner: Mercer Martin, Missouri
- 2014 Job Interview winner: Calli Hyde, Washington
- 2014 Prepared Public Speaking winner: Kiera Leddy, South Dakota
Following the announcement of the results, emotions were running high for both the winners and their families.
“Everybody needs a job, and now I know how to go through the process like the back of my hand and I know this will be a tremendous asset to my future professional career,” Hyde said.
Other winners also agreed that the practice and work involved with preparing for the contest will help them with their future careers in agriculture.
“I feel completely overjoyed and excited for my future. I love FFA and agriculture, so I love talking about it,” Martin said following the announcement. “I eventually would like to go into law, maybe agricultural law. Knowing I’m able to speak and argue in a fast manner gives me confidence to go into my career.”
Through practicing and preparing for countless hours, the winners also said that they discovered some of their own passions in the process.
“I set a goal that I wanted to walk on the national FFA stage at some point in my career in FFA,” Leddy said. “Working in the public speaking contest I found out my speech topic, biotechnology, means so much to me. I have become so passionate about it and have considered now majoring in biotechnology and agricultural communications. I would love to work for a biotech seed company to promote the importance of genetically modified organisms and how we need them in today’s growing 21st century.”
But most of all – the winners said that winning a national contest is a memory they’ll carry with them for the rest of their lives and well beyond their careers as an FFA member.
“This is a feeling that I’ve never experienced before,” Parker said. “It’s incredible.”