SWHS FFA Nursery and Landscape Team Win State Champs


Natalie Lahr

The Nursery and Landscape team leaves for their FFA State compeition. Team includes Sophie Johnson, Heather Bethea, Stacy Griffith, Lalia Hanson, and Delanie Booth as well as Micheal Johnson, Brody Peterson, Sarah Bethea, and Inna Leus.

Kyann Arendse, Staff Reporter

 Sedro-Woolley High School has had a myriad of state champions, and yet one of our best performing teams, Future Farmers of America (FFA) is often overlooked. The FFA Nursery and Landscape team has won state the last two years and won state yet again.

  The Nursery and Landscape team placed first overall in the FFA competition on Friday, March 25, winning by over 400 points,  and will be heading to Nationals again next fall.

    “When they read our name out as state champs it was amazing. We had been so stressed out right before we competed,” said sophomore Sophie Johnson, captain of the Nursery and Landscape team. This is Ramsey’s last year teaching. “there was a lot of pressure on us as a team because we really wanted to make it a good last year for him, so when we heard that we won it was like all of this pent up stress and energy that had been just in us for days was finally able to be released and it felt so nice.” 

For Nursery and Landscape competitions, each person competes on a plant and tool identification test, an overall knowledge test, landscape estimating, a team activity, and practicums. For Practicums, each person competes in a different area and must demonstrate a different skill set.

   “For my practicum, I have written customer assistance. So, you get this prompt where this customer has emailed you a problem about a plant or tool that they bought and your job is to tell them whats wrong with it, how you are going to help them fix it, and maybe sell them something. So you tell them how to fix their problem and whether it was their fault or your fault,” said junior Heather Bethea, a member of the Nursery and Landscape team.

  Other people’s practicums look a bit different. For example Johnson does verbal customer assistance.

   “You walk in and there is a judge sitting at a table,” said Johsnon. “You are the worker and they give you a scenario and they are the customer. You have to verbally help them solve a problem that they give you. They will ask you questions about it and you have to work through this problem with them. You may have to figure out what’s wrong with a plant of theirs, maybe you have to sell them a tool.” 

   While practicums may seem like the toughest part of the competition, the FFA team disagrees. 

   When asked what the team improved in overall Wayne Ramsey, the FFA coach, said, “Landscape estimating. They have a landscape that is really difficult that’s written by a landscape architect or a landscaper, and I think our kids did really well.”  

The students agreed with this statement saying,“Often people struggle with that [landscape estimating but, we had a guy who specialized in that come and teach our team a little bit about how to do that. That’s the reason  I got first in state,” said Bethea.

   While our team made the most improvement in landscape estimating they did best on the knowledge test.

   “They have a knowledge test that is college graduate level and three of our kids got 100 percent on the test. I can’t get 100 percent on the test, so that was fantastic,” said Ramesy.

   The ability to do so well on this doesn’t just happen overnight. The FFA team has been practicing since the beginning of the year learning as much as they can in preparation.

   “We would have ID practice every Monday, and we would drive out to Christianson’s nursery and we would practice with my sister who went to nationals last year. Everyone studied tests on their own and we had separate practices set aside for only team activity practicums,” said Johnson.

   Ultimately, this isn’t just a solo activity. It takes the whole team working together to achieve this great feat. 

“Many people think this is an individual thing, but it really is a team activity. If someone on the team is not doing well then we all put in an effort to help them get better,” said Bethea.