Poultry team carries on state convention tradition

The Chatfield poultry team. From left, are Bennett Gathje, Alanna Goetzinger, Kaci Goldsmith and Kelsi Goldsmith. SUBMITTED PHOTO
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Stacy Fritz’s kids love to read poultry.

The members of Chatfield FFA advisor Fritz’s poultry evaluation career development event (CDE) team competed last week at the Minnesota State FFA convention where the team has excelled for the past four years. 

“The challenge of being on the poultry CDE is grading carcasses, but it’s rewarding when each person on the team does well and then the team does well, too.  We enjoy competing…there are many complicated aspects to the competition.  We were looking forward to improving our placing from last year…I was ready for competition,” said Chatfield High School senior Bennett Gathje.

He joined FFA as a seventh grader because he was familiar with the program since his brother was involved in it.  Being in FFA and on the CDE team is “relaxing,” he said and he appreciates that it allows him to compete in FFA. His participation in FFA and the CDE has taught him study skills and time management, meaning that once he and his teammates were finished with their contests at the state convention, they got to go bowling together.  Still he has excelled as last year he got his State Degree, which is a highlight for him.

Junior Kaci Goldsmith has been an FFAer for five years and chose the poultry CDE because she raises chickens. 

“In FFA, you learn leadership and speaking skills.  I enjoy the state convention and the competitions…getting in the top five (ranking) for the past four years,” she said.  “We built a relationship with our team, and we know them well.  At convention, I look forward to meeting new people, and my favorite part was bowling.” 

Alanna Goetzinger, also a junior, has been in FFA for five years and appreciates the poultry CDE because she has a brood of chickens, but also raises turkeys.  She enjoys the state convention and other competitions. 

“It’s challenging…the stress and generally getting things wrong, but it’s rewarding placing in the top five at state for four years,” she said. “I hope to learn leadership and responsibility in FFA, and it’s rewarding building relationships, too.” 

She was especially excited about attending the state FFA convention because she got to enjoy time with friends and make new ones. She also said she looked forward to the food and bowling.

Seventh grader Kelsi Goldsmith, Kaci’s younger sister, has been in FFA for this school year and was pleased to be part of the poultry CDE to find out more about the birds she raises. 

“I raise chickens, and I want to learn more about domestic fowl.  I like candling eggs,” she said.