WHS FFA team takes first in stateWORTHINGTON — Three Worthington High School juniors will travel to Indianapolis, Ind., in October to compete in the National FFA Convention’s Market Plan contest after taking first place in the state convention on Tuesday.
By: Julie Buntjer, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Three Worthington High School juniors will travel to Indianapolis, Ind., in October to compete in the National FFA Convention’s Market Plan contest after taking first place in the state convention on Tuesday.
Allison Jaycox, Maggie Fornoff and Amy Schutte wowed the trio of judges during their 10-minute presentation at the Minnesota FFA Convention Tuesday morning and were called to the stage by mid-afternoon to accept their first-place plaques. The team competed against members from four other chapters around the state.
This is the second time in four years that a Worthington FFA team has taken first place at state in the Market Plan Career Development Event (CDE). The last time it happened, all three of this year’s team members were eighth-graders, just getting their first experience in ag class and learning about the FFA.
The Market Plan CDE gives FFA members an opportunity to either make up a business or take an existing business in the community and develop a plan to promote and market it to the public. The Worthington group selected an existing product — Sea-Doo watercrafts — and incorporated the local business that sells the products, Jaycox Power Sports.
Allison Jaycox said the team’s marketing plan focused on incorporating the Sea-Doo line into the local business and developing an idea to increase their summer sales. Each girl chose a different aspect to focus on: Jaycox worked on the budget; Schutte concentrated on the public relations; and advertising and Fornoff researched the customer base.
“We conducted a survey to find out what our demographic would be, and we determined the main age group and the interest of the people we were trying to target in our area,” Fornoff said.
The trio has spent two school years working on their market plan, starting as sophomores with a new team and a fresh idea. This past year they updated their models and fine-tuned the details.
Their presentation included new information on Sea-Doo’s watercrafts, including the groundbreaking technology they introduced — the first-ever intelligent brake system on water and an improved hull to make the suspension better.
“That was a big selling point for us to mention,” said Fornoff.
In addition to updating the product information, the teens added business cards to their market plan in time for the state contest. Before the National FFA Convention, they hope to write a jingle and make actual advertisements for the Sea-Doo products.
In a play on words, the girls chose “Wea-Doo Marketing” as the name for their market plan.
“Our slogan was ‘Nobody does marketing like Wea-Doo,’” said Jaycox with a laugh.
“This year we had a better idea of what was going on, so we went into the competition more confident,” said Schutte.
Because there are so few chapters that have a Market Plan CDE team, the Worthington chapter did not have to compete in a region contest. They were an automatic state-bound team.
And now, they are a national-bound team. The National FFA Convention is Oct. 21-24 in Indianapolis.
“By not expecting first place made getting the award even more special for us,” said Schutte of their reaction to being named the first-place Market Plan team.
“We just really wanted to go to nationals again, and we knew if we did win, we could go,” added Jaycox.
All three of the girls attended the National FFA Convention as sophomores, although not to compete.
Both Fornoff and Jaycox live in Worthington, while Schutte lives on a farm near Rushmore. They may not fit the traditional mold of the FFA of years ago, but they realize that anyone can benefit from ag courses and the FFA.
“I think sometimes people look at the FFA as for farm kids only,” said Fornoff. “I think it’s important for everyone to realize how agriculture affects everyone. FFA teaches you skills that are applicable in any field you go into.”
Editor’s Note: See Friday’s Daily Globe for additional results from the Minnesota FFA Convention.