For the first time in the history of the Suffield Regional Agriscience Program, the FFA chapter sent an Agricultural Technology and Mechanical Systems Career Development Event Team to the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana. The team consisted of team members Henry Butler (2022), Grace Sheldon (2022), Logan Sopelak (2022) and Matthew Tini (2023).
Students competed against teams from across the state of Connecticut and placed first in the state competition to earn the opportunity to compete at the national level. Career Development Events (CDEs) help students to develop skill sets in a specific career area while also helping students develop critical thinking, decision making, leadership, communication and teamwork skills. The National Agricultural Technology and Mechanical Systems CDE focused on five areas within the mechanics industry this year – machinery and equipment systems, electricity systems, compact equipment systems, structural systems, and environmental/natural resources systems. Students competed in these five areas as individuals and also had to compete in a team activity that involved building and wiring a walled structure. The team members were able to utilize the skills and knowledge they had learned in their agricultural mechanics classes over the course of their four years in the program while competing in the event.
In addition to the foundation their agriscience courses set, the team practiced after school and on Saturdays and worked with their coach and industry professionals to prepare. They also had the opportunity to practice for the event by competing at the regional Agricultural Technology and Mechanical Systems CDE event that was held at the Eastern States Exposition. The team’s dedication and practice earned them a silver award at the national event! Matthew Tini earned a gold individual placement. Henry Butler earned a silver individual placement. And Grace Sheldon and Logan Sopelak earned bronze individual placements. Overall, the team had great success at the National FFA Convention!