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FFA National Champions!

West Orange FFA Team Wins National FFA Food Science and Technology Career Development Event

On November 1, 2023 FFA members Kaley Henderson, Sarah Lewis, Marissa Romeu, and Cate Solomon competed in the National FFA Food Science and Technology Career Development Event at the 96th National FFA Convention and Expo in Indianapolis, Indiana and came out victorious!


Q: Who is the FFA student leadership?

A: In FFA we have ten officers including: President – Kaley Henderson; Vice President – Cate Solomon; Student Advisor – Marissa Romeu; Secretary – Delaney Moore; Treasurer – Aubrey Russell; Reporter – Lilly Brezak; Sentinel – Sarah Lewis; Historian – Ava Serrano; Parliamentarian – Noah Goldstein; and Committee Chair – Angie Delgado.

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Q: How long have they been in FFA? 

A: For those on the Food Science team, Cate and I have been in FFA for 7 years, Sarah for 6, and Marissa for 5.Cate and I have been competing in this event for 6 or 7 years, and for Sarah and Marissa, it is their third year competing.


Q: Who are the FFA teacher sponsors?

A: Our team coach is Kristy Lightbody, and our FFA advisors are Stacy Figueroa, Eric Marino, and Jessica Strom.


Q: What did you have to do in this competition? 

A: In this competition, there are two team elements and five individual practicums. The two team sections are sanitation and product development. Sanitation requires teams to identify food safety hazards across nine photos and provide solutions for each problem. The biggest aspect of the contest is the product development, in this we are given a scenario where we have an hour to create a nutrition facts and label, a food product and its packaging, a processing flow chart, and a 10 minute presentation. Next, individually, we are tasked with a sensory evaluation, a math calculation practicum, food product compliance, customer injury letters, and a 50 question general knowledge test. In sensory, we have to identify four scents and complete four triangle tests which have three products of the same nature, with one being slightly different and we have to pick the slightly different one (i.e. low fat compared to regular). For product compliance, we have to answer questions relating to a food operation scenario with regards to specifications outlined for it (i.e. proper weight of product, correct packaging, etc). In customer inquiry, we have to read letters from imaginary customers who bring up concerns with different food products and within that we have to identify whether it is a safety or quality concern and then state which hazard applies to it (chemical, biological, or physical). Lastly, we have the food science math and general knowledge, which are fairly self-explanatory.


Q: How did you prepare for this competition?

A: Total, across all the years our team has been competing, I would definitely say that over 100 hours of work has been put in. We’ve spent countless days after school studying different elements of the contest such as the sensory panel or the product development. 


Q: How many teams competed in the event?

A: There were about 40 teams of 4 members. Each team at the competition has to first win their state level competition before moving on to the national competition, meaning that these were the top 40 best teams in the nation.


Q: Has West Orange won an FFA championship before?

A: This is the first National Championship in not only West Orange FFA history, but for Orange County FFA history!

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About the Contributor
Kaylie Strange
Kaylie Strange, Magazine Staff
Kaylie Strange is a senior at West Orange High School and is a member of the Magazine staff. She has been a part of the Magazine team since the end of her sophomore year and she loves to write articles the most. Her favorite color is purple and she enjoys playing tennis in her free time.
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