Joyce Marie Taylor
Six members of the Lafayette FFA Middle School team stopped in at the Rotary Club of Mayo on Wednesday, Jan. 29, for a practice session to polish their parliamentary procedure skills.
The students, all 8th graders, in attendance were Bre’lan Ferrell, Mia McCray, Brayden Lamb, Brianna Celedon, Krista Lyons and Preston Edwards, who served as chairman. The team’s coach, Lafayette High School Ag teacher Chad Lyons, bragged on both the junior and senior FFA teams and expounded on their recent successes.
“Both parliamentary procedure teams won sub-districts,” said Lyons. “The opening and closing ceremonies team also won, and then Brayden Lamb, the sheriff’s son, he also won Middle School Extemporaneous Speaking. So, we had a good day in Bell.”
Both the middle school and high school dairy teams have qualified for the state finals in Tampa, Lyons added. For the next couple of months the FFA teams will be very busy with districts, and if they win, state competitions will be next this coming July, which Lyons said is being held later this year than in years past.
“It will be a challenge to practice when school gets out, but I’m sure we’ll work it out and make it happen,” he said.
A group of kids will also be going to the State Fair Swine Show in Tampa, which runs Feb. 6-17.
“Then we’ve got several kids involved in the North Florida Livestock Show in Madison,” Lyons added. “So, we’re rolling. So far it’s been a tremendous year and we look forward to ending the year strong.”
Lyons said he is really enjoying this year’s middle school group of kids.
“I think, at the end of the day, I enjoy coaching the middle school team probably more than the high school team,” said Lyons. “I think a lot of it is because they’re just young and new, and they take pretty much every word that I say and apply it. Whereas, high school, they’ve heard the same sermons and the same preacher in the pulpit too many times already,” he added, smiling.
This year’s middle school team only missed four questions on the written test at sub-districts, Lyons said. For four of those students, it was their first time competing and they got all their oral questions correct.
“When you can do that, that’s a dynamite team in my opinion,” Lyons said, with a proud grin.
Early in his career, Lyons explained that he had a difficult time getting the FFA kids to realize how important it was to study at home for the tests and the oral questions.
“I don’t know what’s going on differently today, but they definitely buy into that now,” he said.
In past years, the Lafayette Middle School team took the title of state runner-up in 2008, 2012 and 2013. In 2000 and 2009 they took state champion title.