ROCHELLE — If you’re one of those skeptics who doesn’t believe it when your parents, teacher or coach tells you ‘practice makes perfect,’ ask an FFA kid if it’s true. You can find FFA kids in Donna Page’s classroom practicing to be perfect for Nationals in October. That’s right, the RTHS FFA Food Science and Technology CDE team won the 2017 state title and the right to compete for a national title in the fall.
What is Food Science & Technology? It is a competitive event designed to promote learning activities in food science and technology related to the food industry and to assist students in developing practical knowledge of principles used in a team decision-making process.”
“We are given a challenge at every competition. The scenario is that a company has hired our team to create, produce and successfully market a food product,” Andrew Myers explained. “At State on Saturday [March 11], we were hired to create a pizza product and a market for it.”
Myers said the easy part was the ‘who.’
“We decided on hospital and school cafeterias as the volume would allow us to buy ingredients in bulk which is cheaper. Because it was going to schools and hospitals, we had to keep it healthy, so we decided to create a protein-packed pizza (choosing ingredients accordingly). Next we designed a label for marketing as well as a nutrition label and then created a processing hazard analysis.”
The team, which included Myers, Eliza Petry, Claire Plapp and Donnie Harmon, aced the competition.
“We scored 1,600 points, beating the competition by 104,” he said.
The practice makes perfect adage proves true.
“Earlier in the year we lost to CHSAS (Chicago High School of Agriculture Science), so we decided to really hit it hard before state,” Myers said.
Friday night you might have seen the team studying the labels in the ready-to-go section of a local store. They were studying the products, label colors and graphics, as well as the nutrition labeling.
“Somonauk’s FFA Chapter (defending champions) provided us with some great instruction on the hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP), too,” Myers said, adding, “The hard work paid off, but we want to improve our score for nationals because ours is the first team Mrs. Page gets to take to nationals.”
FFA Advisor Donna Page said she is extremely proud of them and humbled to be their teacher.
Besides finishing first among 20 teams, all four of our members were singled out from the field of 81:
Donnie Harmon, first place individual
Claire Plapp, fifth place individual
Eliza Petry, seventh place individual
Andrew Myers, 10th place individual
Plapp, Petry and Harmon will be seniors next year. Myers will fly back from college in Utah for the National Competition in Indianapolis during the National FFA Convention in October. In the meantime, they will enjoy wearing their new FFA jackets; a steak dinner at the Page homestead, and a 12-pack of Ski soda. It’s made in Breese, down in Mrs. Page’s neck of the woods.