Building a Program: We Welcome FFA to Vet Assistance

by Cailin Lyons

The business of the Future Farmers of America is to prepare “members for leadership and careers in the science, business and technology of agriculture.”  Here at LCCTC, one of our shops does just that!

Mrs. Ariel Yanak, animal lover and Vet Assistant teacher, realized that the FFA Mission Statement embraces the instructional mission that benefits the students in her shop, as well:  “FFA develops members’ potential and helps them discover their talent through hands-on experiences, which give members the tools to achieve real-world success.” As a result, Mrs. Yanak instituted the school’s first local chapter of FFA.

2018/2019 members compete in the Vet Science division with local competitions.  They are as follows: Chelsea Baxter, Rachel Dando, Olivia Espositio, Aaron Johnson, Cailin Lyons, Brianna McCollums, Summer Pitts, Caitlin Ritter, Lauren Robison, Linsey Watson and Emilee Wynn.

The benefits of having this club in our school is priceless.  “FFA has challenged me to study and work hard to achieve my goal,” Aaron Johnson states.

These competitors are judged on performance skills such as: filling a syringe, setting up a fecal flotation, and restraining a canine for lateral saphenous venipuncture.They are also scored on a written exam, identification of veterinary instruments, animal breeds, and parasites. It does not end there though, the competitors have to write an essay based of a current event in veterinary medicine and complete a team event pertaining to a topic picked by the veterinary science chair.  In addition to the extensive amounts of every-day shop material that is required of them to maintain their studies, these students also put a large amount of their on time into studying the material necessary to succeed in FFA.

There are also competitions that benefit students in any future area of employment -- no matter what the job entails.  Brianna McCollums will compete in a Leadership Development Event (LDE) known as “Employment Skills.” They have created a resume, cover letter, and online application. Once the judges have looked over their paperwork and deem them ready for round two, the competitors next step is to actually go in for the mock interview phase.

Linsey Watson who also competed in the employment skills competition states, “I also competed in the employment skills, which 6 months ago I never would have done.”

Also competing in a LDE is Caitlin Ritter; her competition is Prepared Speech. This required her to write a six to eight minute speech that is based off of a current agricultural topic. The topic she chose this year was the “Meningeal Worm.”  Caitlin was then required to present her speech to a panel of judges where she was graded on the written speech, speech delivery and the answers to judges’ questions. This competition will help prepare her for future career of speaking with clients and educating them on veterinary topics to better the health of their pet.

Additionally, a few Veterinarian Assistant students compete in Horse Evaluation — Keegan Wallace and Linsey Watson.

Watson states, “I’m able to compete in what I love, Horse Evaluation.” This competition helps Linsey in her own personal experience as a barrel racer.

These students judge horses on breed characteristics, conformation, and performance. They are required to take a written exam based on a wide variety of equine knowledge including identification of equipment, anatomy, and breeds.

“FFA has helped me with my future career by giving leadership and communication skills” Lauren Robison said.

Even though the Veterinarian Assistant shop is just beginning its FFA program and competing against other well-established local chapters and following in the footsteps of our chapter acceptors and first Vet Science state competitors consisting of Chapter President Madison Sinclair, Lauren Robison, Madison Mellott, and Caitlin Ritter, LCCTC is proud to send the following students on to State Competition to Penn State Main Campus on June 11th-13th. The 2019 Veterinary Science Team who will compete for state honors consists of Aaron Johnson, Cailin Lyons, Caitlin Ritter, and Lauren Robison. For Employment Skills, Brianna McCollums represents LCCTC, and for Horse Evaluation, Linsey Watson hopes to “canter” through the competition.   

We wish the FFA students from Vet Assistance good luck and safe travels!