Kannon Gailey, Emma Dolan, Caroline Haxton, Lia McLaughlin, Mimi Walters, Peyton Haxton and Gabby Howell, with their advisor Greg Lehman, were recently named National Champions at the FFA National Convention.

A group of girls from Barrington Middle School have a lot to be proud of this month. Seven student members of the school’s Future Farmers of America (FFA) group brought home the title of national champions after competing in Indianapolis against middle and high school teams from 40 states.

The students, who are now in eighth and ninth grades, participated in the Conduct of Chapter Meetings Leadership Development Event (CDE) designed to introduce members to parliamentary procedure by conducting efficient meetings and building communication skills. The group qualified to attend and compete at the National FFA Convention after winning the state championship over the summer.

“This is an amazing group of students with a significant work ethic and very high level of commitment,” said Barrington’s FFA advisor, Greg Lehman. “These kids do a lot of work on their own time and have learned the ins and outs of their event. They had a goal and really went after it.”

The team, made up of Kannon Gailey, Emma Dolan, Caroline Haxton, Lia McLaughlin, Mimi Walters, Peyton Haxton and Gabby Howell, all attended Barrington Middle School when they won the state championship, although some of the students have now moved on to ninth grade at Durant High School.

According to Riverview resident Bryan Dolan, whose daughter, Emma, participated on the team, members learned skills that will help them throughout their lives and future careers.

“Through their hard work they learned critical thinking, debate skills, public speaking and so much more,” said Bryan.

During the contest, competitors were asked to assume various officer duties, including president and vice president, and were given one minute to prepare a scenario that was evaluated by a team of judges. In the first round of the national contest, they competed against 39 other teams, mostly made up of high school students. They then went on to a round of 12 and from that they were chosen to participate in the finals against teams from Washington, Missouri and Oklahoma.

To learn more about Future Farmers of America, visit www.ffa.org. Barrington Middle School is located at 5925 Village Center Dr. In Lithia and can be reached at 657-7266.

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Kate Quesada is the Multimedia Manager for the Osprey Observer Newspapers. She has been working for the paper in various positions since 2005 when she graduated with her Masters degree in mass communications. She lives in Valrico with her husband Mike and son Dylan.