Three Iowa students from Montezuma High School took a top prize at the 2012 National FFA (Future Farmers of America) Convention in Indianapolis last week. The three students from the Montezuma FFA chapter in east-central Iowa are Abigail Nelson, Katelyn Gregory and Courtney Petersen. They won first place in the challenging Agriculture Communications Career Development Event, or CDE.
Along with cash prizes, an FFA sponsor, DISH, is awarding the students with two years of dishNET high-speed Internet service and DISH pay-TV service.
"I wanted to focus on communications because I'm interested in what's happening around the world," says Abigail Nelson, a member of the Montezuma team. "Finally having fast Internet service will help me learn more and see even more in terms of news and events educational opportunities. That's really exciting."
CDE is a competition that tests students' skills in all areas of communications
The National FFA Communications CDE is a competitive event that tests students' skills in all areas of agricultural communications and evaluates how well they apply classroom skills to real-life situations. Participants attend a simulated news conference and use the information gathered to complete individual work in writing, digital media and design. Prior to the event, the competitors develop media plans. Each team also develops a 15-minute presentation based on their proposal. The Montezuma chapter beat out 15 other teams for first place.
DISH's sponsorship of the National FFA Convention is part of the company's commitment to providing opportunity to rural America through access to high-speed Internet service, says Brian McIntire, vice president of broadband at the firm. DISH's new satellite Internet service, dishNET, now offers high-speed access to unserved rural communities.
Giving students and other rural residents access to reliable high-speed Internet
"Until recently, affordable and reliable high-speed Internet access was completely unavailable in large areas of the country. This gap in access left many families disconnected from critical education and business opportunities," says McIntire. "We're thrilled to be a part of bringing access and opportunities to rural communities everywhere. The FFA students are a perfect example of the remarkable potential in rural America. We want to give them the tools they need."
Katelyn Gregory, of the Montezuma chapter, says slow and unreliable Internet access has been a challenge in her community. "I can't wait to get dishNET. We need the Internet to do research and projects for our school courses and activities. When it's slow, it's just frustrating. This will be great."
The Federal Communications Commission reports that 14.5 million Americans live in areas that lack access to high-speed Internet. The dishNET service offers 4G-level speeds that are three times faster than DSL. The dishNET Internet service starts at $39.99 per month, when bundled with DISH's popular pay-TV services including the Hopper Whole-Home HD DVR. The Hopper mascot, a giant, playful Kangaroo, attended the 2012 National FFA Convention to congratulate the winners. For more information on dishNET service call 800-823-4929 or visit Dish online.
About FFA: FFA is a national youth organization of 557,318 student members. There are 7,498 local chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. 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 agriculture education. The National FFA Organization operates under a federal charter granted by the 81st U.S. Congress and it is an integral part of public instruction in agriculture. The U.S. Department of Education provides leadership and helps set direction for FFA as a service to state and local ag education programs. To learn more visit the National FFA organization's website, Facebook, Twitter and the official National FFA blog.