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FFA members take 2nd place in state competition

Forest Lake FFA members McKenna Nelson (12), Kalley Tietje (12), Amber Zebrasky (12) and Geena Zebrasky (12) earned a 2nd Place ranking at the Minnesota FFA Food Science Career Development Event (CDE) held at Jenny-O Turkey in Willmar, MN on March 21st.  To advance to the state competition the team competed earlier in qualifying event. During the state competition, the team competed against the Top 6 teams in the state and came away with a very respectable 2nd place win. Individually each of the team members did their parts with Geena Zebrasky placing second overall and Amber Zebrasky, McKenna Nelson and Kalley Tietje taking sixth, seventh and thirteenth, respectively.

The Food Science CDE is designed to stimulate activities related to the food industry and to assist students in developing a good working knowledge of sound principles used in a team decision-making process.  The CDE consists of several components including: the preparation of a food product in response to a hypothetical marketing scenario; presentation of the food product to a panel of industry representatives; identification of food safety or sanitation problems in a series of photographs; sensory evaluation of a variety of food products and ingredients; response to a customer complaint letter; and an examination of food science curriculum.

Team member Geena Zebrasky recognized the value of the group effort. “We worked really well as a team,” she said. “We all put in 100 percent. I think that’s why we were so successful.” 

The students were charged with the task of developing a new type of chili that would be attractive to the GenX’ers. Upon arrival, the team was provided with a limited number of ingredients that would have to combine for an award-winning recipe.  The team developed a product they called “The Taste of Chilé,” a spicy, but home-style chili that would provide a home cooked feel on the run. In addition to making the new product, the girls also analyzed its nutritional value, priced, marketed and presented it to a panel of judges – all of which was accomplished in under one hour.

“I am so proud of the time and effort these ladies put in to this contest. This contest is a comprehensive representation of the Food Science Industry and take hard work and dedication to nail it the way they did” Forest Lake FFA Advisor Veronica Ward states about her team.

The National FFA Organization, formerly known as the Future Farmers of America, is a national youth organization of 507,763 student members – all preparing for leadership and careers in the science, business and technology of agriculture – as part of 7,439 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The National FFA Organization changed to its present name in 1988, in recognition of the growth and diversity of agriculture and agricultural education. The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.

The Forest Lake Area Senior High Agricultural Education Department offers courses and internship opportunities in the areas of animal science, plant science, natural resource science, mechanics, agri-business and leadership development.  Students are also members of the Forest Lake FFA.  For more information about the Forest Lake Agricultural Education Department and the FFA chapter contact an agricultural education instructor at (651) 982-8495 or visit our website at