FFA members are talented in many ways. For some students, traveling to Ohio FFA State Convention is a time to receive recognition for their hard work throughout the year, but for others it is a time reserved to showcase their unique talents at the Ohio FFA Talent Show.
This year at the 87th Ohio FFA State Convention, students from the Hardin Northern FFA Chapter stole the show with an a cappella performance that was pitch perfect. The first place act was Awakened Commotion — a group of 10 FFA members under the direction of their high school choir director, Kelly Eikenbary. The talented ensemble sparked energy in the convention hall during their performance of a Justin Bieber and Katy Perry mash up song.
“It was a giant adrenaline rush,” said Mariah Burton. a sophomore FFA member. “I had more fun during this show than any other because I felt confident performing with my team. The energy while we were on stage was exciting and fun.”
Each year before the convention, a panel of handpicked judges is selected to evaluate and place each talent act. This year, 23-year-old Mackenzie Bart, who currently serves as Miss Ohio, was asked to be a judge.
“I was amazed at the amount of incredibly talented students that all performed on one stage,” Bart said. “I was happy to have been a judge. It almost felt like American Idol.”
The idea of starting their own group formed when a performing a cappella group from Tiffin came to visit students at Hardin Northern six years ago. Shortly after the visit, the students expressed interest in holding signups and auditions.
“After the group from Tiffin visited us, it just kind of clicked,” said Lukas Schroeder, senior FFA member. “It was the drive of our director at the time that encouraged us to try something new and different. Her support is what helped lead us to where we are now.”
It isn’t just singing and performing for this enthusiastic group of students. Their talents and ambition to succeed carry over into their academics and other FFA activities within their chapter. Hardin Northern FFA members also participate in various career development events and judging invitationals.
“Sometimes it is difficult to balance a cappella responsibilities and our activities within the FFA,” Shroeder said. “We are really lucky to have a great group of advisors, school faculty, parents and our choir director to support us.”
Some of the group’s fans and supporters also made the trip to convention to watch the students perform at the talent show.
“This is one special group of students,” said Don Paullin, Hardin Northern FFA advisor. “They are well-rounded and talented and I couldn’t be any more proud of them.”
The students’ talents shined throughout convention even after the talent show concluded. The group returned on stage to perform the song, “This Little Light of Mine,” during Ohio FFA State President Sydney Snider’s retiring address.
Other performances included students playing the guitar, plucking the banjo and using their voices to share their passion for singing. The Ohio FFA Talent show offers a unique opportunity to spotlight the talent of Ohio’s FFA members each year.
Members of Awakened Commotion include David Allen, Mariah Burton, Breanna Cook, Cassidy Deckling, Collin Hoffman, Grace King, Danielle Miller, Sara Morris, James Rickenbacher, and Lukas Schroeder.
Hardin Northern FFA Advisors include Mr. Don Paullin and Ms. Krista Hellwig.