Local FFA Chapters host Career Development Event Invitational

Carlie Bossard, Agriculture Teacher and FFA Advisor, Penn Yan Academy

PENN YAN — On Saturday, April 2, the Penn Yan FFA hosted the annual Finger Lakes Career Development Event (CDE) Invitational contests with the help of other FFA chapters in District 8 including Marcus Whitman, Prattsburgh, Avoca, Jasper-Troupsburg, and the GST BOCES FFA chapters.

The chapters invited FFA members from across the state to compete in five different FFA contests to help prepare them for the State FFA Convention contests in May. Advisors helped organize Veterinary Science, Floriculture, Agricultural Mechanics, Forestry and Jr. Tool Identification (for middle school members). The day was a huge success with over 120 participants and student observers who made the trek to Penn Yan to sharpen their skills.

Veterinary Science

In the Veterinary Science contest, students had a written knowledge test, math problem solving, identification of tools, parasites and breeds, along with hands on practicums that included haltering a cow, applying a gauze dog muzzle, opening a surgery pack, performing a fecal float with a fecalyzer, and creating a current issue presentation for a judge.

Students had the opportunity to review with the judges in the Veterinary Science Contest.

A big thank you to Yates County Farm Bureau for sponsoring the cash prizes for the top four individuals, and Tractor Supply Company in Penn Yan for the donation of the Wahl clipper set for the first place individual. Judges and volunteers included Dr. Tim Dennis, Ginger Dailey, Eileen Jensen, Brenda Travis, Brianna Hawley, and Carlie Bossard, the Penn Yan FFA Advisor who organized the contest. Eastview Vet Clinic also lent instruments for the Identification portion of the contest.

The Veterinary Instrument and Tool Identification event.
Alaina Smith of Penn Yan placed at the top In Veterinary Science.

Top individuals for the contest were: 1st place, Alaina Smith from Penn Yan; 2nd place, Abby Stone from Oxford; 3rd place, Jacob Brown of Cato-Meridian; 4th place, Avery Castner from Penn Yan; 5th place, Brianna Tuma-White from GST BOCES.


In the Floriculture contest students had a written knowledge test, math problem solving, tool and flower Identification, making a flower arrangement, identifying diseases/pests of floral plants, and performing a stem cutting.

Floral Arrangement event.

This contest was sponsored by Farm Credit East, which provided gift cards for the top four individuals. Steuben County Farm Bureau sponsored the gift basket for the first place individual. Judges and volunteers included Brenda Marchionda from the Flower Cart, Randy Coolbaugh and Mrs. Mary Coolbaugh, the Whitman FFA Advisor, who organized the event.

The top four in Floriculture.

Top individuals in the contest were 1st-Vanessa Grant from Royalton-Hartland, 2nd-Montana Perot from Whitman, 3rd-Megan Kyle from Cato-Meridian, 4th-Lillian Szweda from Warsaw, and 5th-Charlotte Poblete from Penn Yan. 

Agricultural Mechanics

The Agricultural Mechanics contest was held in the CTE tech wing with lots of hands-on practicums for students to test their mechanical skills. They had a written math problem test, as well as a welding practicum, structures station, electrical troubleshooting, and engine troubleshooting.

Welding dice for the Welding Practicum.

This contest was sponsored by Greenidge Generation for the top four cash prizes. A welding helmet and many more welding items were donated by Bradley Supply in Hornell, and Landpro sponsored $20 gift cards for individuals that were top in different practicums. A big thanks to our volunteers and judges for the contest, which were John Kriese, Brayden Webber, Matt Hibbard, John Murphy, and Steve Dennis. Mr. Aaron Dennis, the Jasper-Troupsburg FFA Advisor, organized the contest. Many students from other schools that do not have an ag shop were able to learn how to weld with the help of our volunteers. Top award went to Ryan Dann of Penn Yan, 2nd was Tanner Miller of Prattsburgh, 3rd was Nicholas Armenia from Royalton-Hartland, 4th was Austin King of Whitman and 5th was Trenton Samatulski from Penn Yan. 


The Forestry contest saw many participants learning new skills outside. Students completed a written knowledge exam, tree identification, timber cruising using biltmore sticks, a compass course, identifying parts of a chainsaw, and identifying forestry tools.

Forestry Timber event.

This contest was sponsored by the GST BOCES FFA chapter, which provided the cash prizes for the top individuals. Hesselson’s also donated two trail cameras for the top two individuals of the contest. Thank you to Mason Bishop and Mr. Matt Bryan, GST FFA Advisor, for organizing the forestry contest. Top honors were awarded to Liam McKay of Marion for 1st, Tim Blesy from Springville for 2nd, Brooke Bradely from GST BOCES for 3rd, Cole Brown from GST BOCES for 4th, and Adam Troutman from Springville for 5th. 

Tool Identification

The last contest was specifically for Middle School students, Jr. Tool Identification. In this contest students had over 150 tools they needed to know. The first part of the contest included the tool list, and students had to identify the tools. The second part of the contest was 10 additional tools where they did not get a word bank, and they had to identify or answer a question about the tool.

Tool Identification event.
The top four in Jr. Tool.

This contest was sponsored by Chemung County Farm Bureau for the top 4 cash prizes, and tool sets were awarded to top individuals that were donated by Joe and Andrea Elward, and Steuben County Farm Bureau. Thank you to Joe Elward for volunteering, and Mrs. Andrea Elward, the Prattsburgh FFA Advisor, for organizing the contest. Byron-Bergen FFA swept the top 3 spots with Carter Kuiipers in 1st, Natalie Randall in 2nd, Paige O’Brien in 3rd. Fourth place was awarded to Hunter Rozewski from Cincinnatus and Alyssa Smith from Penn Yan was 5th.

This was the first time in almost two years that students have had an in-person, hands-on competition. It was great preparation for the state competitions that will be held in May at the OnCenter in Syracuse.

The students gathered in the PYA cafeteria to hear the days' results.

We would like to thank Hannah Bush (Avoca FFA Advisor), Phyllis Moore, Amber Hand, and Paul Donovan for helping the day run smoothly by helping with set-up and scoring. We also had several other organizations and individuals who donated prizes that we were able to give out to top individuals in different parts of the contests including Tractor Supply Company in Horseheads, Cobleskill Ag Engineering Club, Dan and Sandy King, and Mary and Randy Coolbaugh. We hope to make this an annual event every year to help students prepare for the state competition. We also hope to see some of these students at the top of the podium come May!

The Penn Yan FFA has 26 members going to the State FFA Convention in May to compete in the contests from this invitational. We have two Veterinary Science teams, two Agriculture Mechanics teams, one Floriculture team, one Forestry team and one Jr. Tool Identification team competing.

Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser April 26

To help pay for the registration costs for Penn Yan FFA members to compete at the State Convention, the Penn Yan FFA Alumni Association is hosting a spaghetti dinner fundraiser at the Penn Yan Moose Tuesday, April 26 from 5-7 p.m. Tickets are $8 each. If you would like tickets, please see a Penn Yan FFA member, or email advisor Carlie Bossard at cbossard@pycsd.org. You can pay cash, check (to Penn Yan FFA Alumni Association) or they can take venmo (@PYFFAAA). We hope you can help us raise the funds so members don’t need to pay to go and compete!