WAIMEA — Joyce Evens, Waimea High School coordinator for the Future Farmers of America competition, said there hasn’t been an FFA district competition with all three public high schools participating since 1998.
“Jill Suga, one of the judges in the ag presentation, was the last Waimea High School student to be part of the FFA competition,” Evens said. “This year, Kapaa has a new adviser in Kylie Hashizaki, and Kapaa is very excited to be part of the competition. Kauai High School has been the only school to have a program each year.”
Kapaa bused 10 students from its class of more than 40 to go through the competitive phases, which included students taking on projects in vegetable grading, corsage making, ag demo, chapter records and job interview. The process was made even more stringent by having the students perform in accordance with FFA standards, which include a dress code.
“I didn’t know this was for real,” said Waimea High School student Kaya Labanon. “I thought this was going to be a practice run.”
Labanon partnered with Herman Wilson to finish in third place in the ag demo phase of competition.
Evens said the competition leaders relied a lot on Waimea High School’s Lois Keamoai for guidance.
“Back when I was in FFA, it wasn’t Waimea,” Keamoai said. “Instead of ‘Hawaii’ on the back of the jackets, it was ‘HP Faye,’ then, ‘Waimea.’ I started as a member and became president, moving on to become secretary at the state level.”
The hardest part of corsage making was trying to arrange three flowers, said Kapaa FFA student Eve Cole.
“I’ve done floraculture for three years, starting from the high school in California,” Cole said. “Back there, and the high school I came from, agriculture is a big thing. The hardest part of doing this corsage is trying to arrange three of the same type of flowers (dendrobium orchids) — and they don’t have stems. I’m used to using one flower as central and two other types.”
Kapaa, for the first time entering, finished by taking top honors in the vegetable grading, while Waimea pocketed top honors in the ag demonstration phase. Kauai High School ended with first places in three phases — corsage making, chapter records and job interview.
Students winning the competitive phases are eligible for the FFA state competiton.
Vegetable grading: Kapaa (Tu Nguyen, Kalei O Ka Lanakila Waipa), Kapaa (Keiley Abergas-Apilado, Kaylee Langtad), Kapaa (Seth Schlosser, Liliana Perry)
Corsage making: Kauai (Keenan Iwai, Trevor Nakasone), Kapaa (Liliana Perry, Eve Cole), Kapaa (Keinan Kawaihalau-Alijo, Sienna Hernandez-Martinez)
Ag demo: Waimea (Karen Kilar, Makana Duncan), Kapaa (Keiley Abergaas-Apilado, Kaylee Langtad), Waimea (Herman Wilson, Kaya Labanon)
Chapter records: Kauai (Kyra Bukoski, Keenan Iwai, Lael Bukoski)
Job interview: Kauai (Trevor Nakasone), Kapaa (Kalei Waipa), Kapaa (Tu Nguyen)