Shown from left, Caleb Horne of Oklahoma (Second Runner-up), Alex Kindig (First Runner-up), Lilly P’Pool of Kentucky (Fourth), and Isabella Albiana of California (First).

INDIANAPOLIS — Going into the FFA National Convention, South Newton sophomore Alex Kindig just wanted to be a good representation of his school, his FFA chapter, and his state. He did much more than that, as he was First Runner-up at the National FFA Creed Speaking Leadership Development Event.

“Being on stage for the National Convention as part of that final four was just so incredible,” said Kindig. “The experience was amazing, I wish I would have performed a little bit better in that final round, but overall I wouldn’t want to change anything about the process of getting here. I felt confident and I really wanted to be a good representation of South Newton and of Indiana.”

To make it to the National Convention Kindig took first in Creed Speaking on the district level and then at the Indiana FFA State Convention.

At the convention, the 47 state Creed Speaking winners went through the preliminary round on Oct. 31. Kindig and 15 others advanced to the semifinals, and then he was part of the final four and took part in the final round the morning of Nov. 1.

“I was extremely excited to be in the final four,” added Kindig. “I felt honored to be a part of such an elite group and I was just happy to be there.”

The National FFA Creed Speaking Leadership Development Event (LDE) recognizes outstanding FFA members in seventh through ninth grades for their ability to present the National FFA Creed from memory and answer three questions related to it. The FFA Creed outlines the organization’s values and beliefs regarding the industry of agriculture, FFA membership, and citizenship and patriotism. Students participating in the Creed Speaking LDE learn to communicate in a powerful, organized and professional manner and build self-confidence.

Kindig started the process of Creed Speaking his 8th-grade year and then really started to hone in on it as a freshman.

“It was a lot of hard work but having the national convention in Indiana was so fitting,” added Kindig.

Kindig gives credit to his many mentors and coaches throughout the process including South Newton alum Austin Berenda, who won the state Creed Speaking contest as a freshman, South Newton FFA advisors Matthew Armbruster and Darrell Allen, Alan Washburn, Drake Babcock, Joe Martin from Indiana FFA, and Tri-County’s Blayne Vandeveer who won the National FFA Creed Speaking Career Development Event a few years ago.

“Without all of their help, I wouldn’t have gotten this far,” said Kindig. “They were fantastic to work with and all of their advice really helped me.”

“Alex was so successful because he was easy to coach and he was always looking for advice from myself and every community member that helped him throughout the past year,” said Armbruster. “ He has a passion and determination to do well in the Creed and it drove him to put in hundreds of hours throughout the last year to better prepare himself for the National Creed LDE.”

Isabella Albiana of California placed first, followed by Alex Kindig of Indiana, Caleb Horne of Oklahoma and Lilly P’Pool of Kentucky.