For the FFA state horticulture judging competition, there really is no margin for error from a team perspective. Only the first place team qualifies for the national competition.
Wawasee High School’s FFA horticulture judging team of Molly Swartz, Leeann Estrada, Shelby Swartz and Sarah Harden placed first out of 16 teams at the state competition Sept. 13 at Purdue University. Katie Acton and Sophia Nyce competed as individuals for Wawasee. Next will be the national horticulture judging competition Saturday, Oct. 11, in Lexington, Ky.
At the state competition, it was essentially divided into three sections. One involved identifying about 200 different plants, a second section was judging four specimens and ranking them from best to worst and the third section was taking a test and answering questions about flowers, landscaping, fertilizers and general horticulture questions.
To prepare for the national competition, Wawasee students are reading, learning and digesting 12 to 15 articles they will be tested on covering a variety of horticulture topics. They are also studying a few plants they didn’t have to identify at the state competition.
This is the third year in a row Wawasee’s FFA horticulture judging team has qualified for the national competition. Joan Harden is the team’s coach.