JHHS alum Kennedy leads county in national FFA honors

A recent Jackson Heights High School graduate was named second in the nation in extemporaneous public speaking during the 90th National FFA Convention and Expo in Indianapolis, Ind., where FFA chapters from all three Jackson County schools earned national recognition.

John Kennedy, a 2017 graduate of JHHS, took second place in the extemporaneous public speaking contest, earning a cash prize and Gold Emblem status at the national level, according to JHHS chapter advisor Paul Lierz. The contest recognizes individual FFA members for their ability to prepare and present factual speeches on specific agricultural issues in a short time period and answer questions based on their speeches.

Other Jackson County students making an impact at the national FFA convention included Holton sophomore Cailin Parks, who competed in the FFA creed speaking leadership development event. Holton chapter advisor Jason Larison said Parks broke into the semifinals but just missed making the national final four, earning a Silver Emblem ranking.

Larison also noted that Holton's environmental and natural resources career development event team finshed 18th in the nation and earned a national Silver Emblem ranking. Team member and HHS senior Mason Chanay finished 11th in the nation and earned a Gold Emblem ranking and a $400 college scholarship, while HHS junior Kortnee VanDonge also finished in the Gold Emblem division.

Other members of Holton's environmental and natural resources career development event team included senior Joshua Clark, who finished in the Silver Emblem division, and sophomore Alexys Campbell, who finished in the Bronze Emblem division, Larison said.

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