By: NetWork Kansas
In February 2019, Greeley County hosted their first annual YEC Series event. For the past five years, they partnered with neighboring Wichita County to have their students participate in the YEC Series. Christy Hopkins, Greeley County’s Director of Community Development, organized the competition. Hopkins shares how she worked with the school to organize this YEC Series event.
· Building a strong relationship with the teacher and principal
· Integrating the YEC event with FFA curriculum
Greeley County had 31 students involved in their local competition this year, out of approximately 100 students total in Greeley County Jr/Sr High School. In the past students worked with a business teacher to prepare for the YEC Series event, but the business teacher was promoted to principal and was unable to play a hands-on role. The principal encouraged the Ag/FFA teacher, Melissa Poet, to work with Hopkins on this program. Hopkins credits Poet as being a community-minded instructor who is passionate about education and agriculture.
The competition was built on the principle of tying agriculture and business together. It was structured so that Poet’s juniors competed fully in the competition for a chance to advance to the Kansas Entrepreneurship Challenge. There were two other divisions for smaller prizes: freshmen and sophomores in one division and eighth graders in the last division. These two younger divisions received smaller cash prizes and were not eligible to move on to the KEC State Championship.
Poet’s Agriscience class of freshmen and sophomores were required to complete a Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) as part of the FFA curriculum that Poet teaches. FFA members are required to have an established SAE by their first year of high school and continue until they are in college. These projects can range from animal and plant production, to working for a vet or rancher, or even a research project every year. With this knowledge, the freshmen and sophomore students designed a poster showcasing their ideas for their future SAE and competed in the local YEC Series event for another level of experience.
The class of eighth graders competed in the tradeshow with more complete displays of their dream business, but did not complete a written component. They came prepared to present their ideas to tradeshow attendees. In both divisions, students gained invaluable competition experience that readies them for the competition in coming years. Some students were already discussing ideas for next year at the end of the competition! This is an excellent way to get students excited for future years of competition and to build the groundwork for solid students’ ideas and presentations.
Greeley County’s first stand-alone event was incredibly successful and many students were involved. We look forward to seeing their YEC Series event develop throughout the coming years!