The achievement of six Powell County High School FFA members has earned them trips to the National FFA Convention later this year.
Seniors Miles Graveley, Aubree Bohrer, Wyatt Smith and Aidan Thompson, and freshmen Clara Graveley and Kaycee Corbin were winners at the Montana FFA Envirothon held in Lewistown April 19-20. The Deer Lodge team was one of 25 FFA teams from across Montana attending the event that focused on environmental issues and natural resources – soil, aquatic, wildlife, forest and range studies.
The program included workshops, presentations and written tests for each subject. On the final day the team developed a presentation on a given scenario to explain what they would do in that instance to address environmental issues. The Deer Lodge team won over-all test scores and won the wildlife and forestry divisions, qualifying them to advance to Nationals in Indianapolis, Indiana, in October.
“Every score counts, and to win, all of the team members had to be in the top 10,” said Bill Lombardi, FFA advisor and Ag Education teacher for 35 years at Powell County High School.
Previously, Miles Graveley won the extemporaneous speech competition at the District Leadership Conference, and also won the State Championship, advancing him to Nationals.
Lombardi said, “Extemporaneous speaking is the most difficult competition of all the speaking events, and I’m extremely proud of Miles’ success.”
During the District Mechanics Competition held in Kalispell, the Deer Lodge team of Wyatt Smith, Aidan Thompson, Miles Graveley and Tallon Hansen demonstrated their skills in electrical, construction, welding and land survey. They won first place — a huge accomplishment because teams almost never defeat the home school in their own shop. The mechanics team won second place at the State Competition in Billings April 7-10. Lombardi said two of them were notable: Tallon was named third over-all in the event; Aiden was third in welding and seventh over-all.
The Forestry Team — Wyatt, Miles, Aidan, Nickia Harris, Tallon, Aubree and Louis Savalla — identified tools, equipment, diseases, insects, measured trees, did map reading and a written test at the State Forestry Competition in Missoula. They finished in 3rd place, but all of them were among the top 13 competitors.
Tallon, Miles and Aubree also earned their FFA state degree this year — similar to the accomplishment of earning Eagle Scout in scouting.
Lombardi said, “During the past 35 years I have had several FFA individual state champions, but only four state champion FFA teams — Miles and Aiden have been on two of those teams.
“The most misunderstood fact about FFA is how challenging and competitive it is,” he said. “I realize how unique this year has been; with COVID it has been challenging for educators. These are a great bunch of kids and they have done incredibly well.”