The SLO Sectional FFA Creed Competition was held on Wednesday, Feb. 24, via Zoom due to the COVID-19 pandemic and won by Atascadero High School freshman Carly Dabbs. Dabbs will be joined at the Regional competition in April by fellow Greyhound Kensington Witt, who placed fifth overall, and Mackenzy Tucker, who placed eighth out of around 40 competitors.

In the competition, which is only for freshmen in high school, students must memorize and recite the five-paragraph FFA Creed to a panel of judges and answer three random questions about agriculture and all things FFA. 

The students are given four minutes, and the judges look at memorization, stage presence, interpretation, and pronunciation, among other things. Points are deducted for each word added or redacted as well as for each second they go over the time limit. 

“It was a very fun experience. I had never done something like this before,” Dabbs told the Atascadero News. “It was definitely a shock. Earlier in the month, I went on a google meet with my FFA advisor, and we practiced going through the Creed, and he asked me questions. He told me I did well and that I should do well in the contest, but I definitely did not expect to get first because there are so many great people in FFA throughout the county. It was just really great to know my hard work paid off.”

The SLO section contains students from seven schools in the county, Atascadero, Templeton, Paso Robles, Morro Bay, Coast Union, and Shandon. In the regional competition on Apr. 1, Dabbs, Witt, and Tucker will be competing against students from San Jose to Los Angeles. 

The FFA Creed, which was written by E.M. Tiffany, is posted below:

I believe in the future of agriculture, with a faith born not of words but of deeds – achievements won by the present and past generations of agriculturists; in the promise of better days through better ways, even as the better things we now enjoy have come to us from the struggles of former years.

I believe that to live and work on a good farm, or to be engaged in other agricultural pursuits, is pleasant as well as challenging; for I know the joys and discomforts of agricultural life and hold an inborn fondness for those associations which, even in hours of discouragement, I cannot deny.

I believe in leadership from ourselves and respect from others. I believe in my own ability to work efficiently and think clearly, with such knowledge and skill as I can secure, and in the ability of progressive agriculturists to serve our own and the public interest in producing and marketing the product of our toil.

I believe in less dependence on begging and more power in bargaining; in the life abundant and enough honest wealth to help make it so–for others as well as myself; in less need for charity and more of it when needed; in being happy myself and playing square with those whose happiness depends upon me.

I believe that American agriculture can and will hold true to the best traditions of our national life and that I can exert an influence in my home and community which will stand solid for my part in that inspiring task.

Getting through this together, Atascadero