Chehalis FFA student to compete in national competition

Skylie Voie will head to Indianapolis to compete next week


When her FFA adviser first suggested she compete in a leadership development event where she would have to recite the five-paragraph FFA Creed from memory and then answer questions related to it in front of a judge, W.F. West High School student Skylie Voie had the reaction many would expect from a teenager.

“I was like, ‘absolutely not,’” she recalled. 

She did change her mind as she learned more about the event — FFA Creed Speaking Leadership Development — and decided to compete as a freshman last spring. 

“I’m definitely glad I did,” she said. 

When she did decide to compete, her FFA adviser, W.F. West agriculture teacher Chris Guenther, was her coach. 

“The goal is, like I told Skylie, ‘if this is what we’re going to do, we’re going to aim … for the highest level of achievement we can do,’” Guenther said. 

Voie has yet to reach that ceiling. She placed in the top three at the sub-district, district and sub-state levels of competition last spring before placing first at state competition in May, which earned her a spot in the upcoming National FFA Creed Speaking Leadership Development Event at the 96th National FFA Convention and Expo in Indianapolis, Indiana. 

“They take only one into the nationals,” Guenther said of the students who compete in Creed Speaking at the state level. “There’s a lot of digging and scraping to get to that level. Someone really has to be prepared.” 

Voie, now 15, and fellow Chehalis FFA members Michael Butler and Titus Greene, accompanied by Guenther, will leave for Indianapolis on Sunday, Oct. 29. The conference itself runs Wednesday, Nov. 1 through Saturday, Nov. 4. 

Butler, 15, and Greene, 17, are not competing this year, but said they plan to take full advantage of the convention’s workshops while they prepare to possibly compete this upcoming spring. 

Guenther, who is now in his 18th year as an FFA adviser in the Twin Cities area, said he has only had students qualify for FFA nationals three times: Centralia FFA student Bailey Peters competing in the Job Interview Career Development Event in 2012, the Chehalis FFA Dairy Evaluation Team in 2019, and now Voie. 

“Not only is it good to see a student from our program aspire to that level to go (to nationals), but also the bearing of (Creed Speaking) being one of the most traditional aspects of the FFA organization as far as contests and leadership outings go … it’s a pretty great opportunity,” Guenther said. 

Creed Speaking is likely FFA’s oldest leadership development event, Guenther said, as FFA organizers started the event in 1930, just two years after the FFA Association began in 1928. 

“The FFA Creed outlines the organization’s values and beliefs regarding the industry of agriculture, FFA membership, and citizenship and patriotism,” the FFA Association states on its website. “Students participating in the Creed Speaking LDE (Leadership Development Event) learn to communicate in a powerful, organized and professional manner and build self-confidence.” 

Memorizing the FFA Creed has been a tradition for FFA students going back generations, Guenther said. 

“It’s an honor for me, as a coach, to have a Creed student compete in a contest that’s so steeped in the history of the organization that almost every FFA member that’s come through the program has had to memorize,” Guenther said. 

When asked Wednesday how she felt about the upcoming trip to nationals, Voie said, “A lot of feelings: nervous, excited, all of the above.”

Voie said she joined FFA out of an interest in showing animals, as she grew up around her grandmother’s horses, chickens and goats. 

For more information about Chehalis FFA, visit