Walsh Sisters to Take on National FFA Convention



Sarah and Chloe Walsh are a force to be reckoned with this year at the National FFA Convention.

Madelynn Orosz, Ag/FFA Editor

SEYMOUR — Almost 30 Nonnewaug agriscience students qualified to attend or compete at the 95th National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, later this month. Among these students are friends, family friends, and even a set of sisters. 

Sarah and Chloe Walsh both qualified to compete at the end of October to represent Connecticut in their respective competitions. Sarah, a senior, will be representing Connecticut in the National Meat Judging contest; Chloe, a sophomore, will be competing in the National Creed Speaking competition as the Connecticut representative. 

Chloe won the Connecticut Creed Speaking contest in 2021. Since then, she has been reciting the FFA creed in a variety of events such as the recent 102-year celebration of the agriscience program at Nonnewaug. (Madelynn Orosz)

“I would have never thought I would be doing the Meat Judging CDE, let alone anything in food production, when I first started [at Nonnewaug],” said Sarah. 

Sarah originally applied to Nonnewaug with her interest in the vet program and she used to avoid meat prior to the start of vet science, but she changed her mind when she found her passion in the food industry while taking the ag production class and discovering food production. 

Chloe applied to Nonnewaug because she felt it was a better environment to learn in and explore areas of agriculture.

“I would have never seen myself in this position three years ago,” said Chloe.

Chloe was a part of the debate team at Seymour Middle School and had a passion for debate, but she didn’t realize her strong public speaking skills would be used for creed speaking.  

“At first I liked the competition of [creed speaking],” said Chloe. “Now, I enjoy it because it’s almost like a subconscious action and I can focus on making it perfect, and it’s a cool thing to experience.”

The Walsh sisters didn’t get started in agriculture until they were accepted into Nonnewaug.

“I have known a few great graduates from Nonnewaug, and when Sarah showed interest in [large animals], we decided to go to the open house and we were sold,” said Michelle Walsh, Sarah and Chloe’s mom.

Sarah and members of the Meat Judging team take notes and learn from an employee at LaBonne’s before the 2021 state competition. Sarah is grateful for industry experts helping her deepen her passion for food science. (Contributed)

The family has adapted to the lifestyle change with the animal passions of Sarah and Chloe still finding her true passion and focus in agriculture. 

“Horses and cows, and farming in general were not really in my comfort zone,” said Michelle, reflecting on how her life has changed after becoming an ag parent after not having previous experience in agriculture. “We support them even if we aren’t necessarily adept in their interest.”

Sarah has been thankful for the support she’s received throughout her time at Nonnewaug.

“Although I grew up in a family where I didn’t have experience in ag, I’m happy that I was able to try new things that led me to this,” Sarah said. “I was able to try new things that led me to [competing nationally].” 

“Even though younger me wouldn’t have seen myself doing [food science] in high school, I’m so grateful for all the barns, industry professionals, classes and experience I’ve had and learned from that has led me to where I am now, pursuing a future in agriculture and food,” she added.

As the countdown to National FFA Convention comes closer, the girls have continued to support each other in their preparations for their respective competitions, a key to the success of the sisters.

Sarah and Chloe have supported each other through the process of getting to the point of representing Connecticut on the national stage.

“I have helped Sarah quite a bit with meat judging,” Chloe said. “I’ve attended practices and helped her study privately.”

Sarah has helped Chloe memorize the creed as well and been an audience for her to practice. 

With the sisters being supportive of each other and the parents couldn’t be more proud of supporting their girls. 

“We are proud of their achievements, work ethic, drive to succeed, respect of others and their generosity,” Michelle said. “We are proud of Sarah’s knowledge and study ethic and Chloe’s confidence and calmness in front of a crowd.”