For most 13-year-olds, representing the state of Minnesota at a convention in New York would seem like an overwhelming responsibility.
But for Aly Dieball of Green Isle, Minnesota, it was just another week in the life.
Aly, daughter of Jim and Wendy Dieball, traveled to Saratoga Springs, New York with her family for the National Junior Holstein Convention. She participated in the national public speaking competition for the third year in a row.
Aly’s road to Saratoga Springs began in March when she represented Sibley County in Minnesota Holstein Association’s statewide speech competition in Willmar. The winner of the competition would represent Minnesota in New York. Aly’s speech on rBST shots given to dairy cows was good enough for first place and a ticket to Saratoga Springs.
In 2014, Aly won the competition and headed to Dubuque, Iowa for the national competition. Last year, Aly won again and presented her speech at nationals in Illinois. And this year, Aly’s speech landed her in the Empire State.
For the third year in a row, Dieball, from a town of about 300 people, would represent her whole state on a national level.
Aly performed her speech in front of a panel of judges in New York. She was scored on content, presentation, knowledge of the subject and her responses to questions at the end of the speech.
Growing up on a farm with over 130 cows, Aly has always been interested in topics of dairy. She chose to speak about rBST shots out of pure curiosity.
“I heard about the shot quite a bit and didn’t know what it was at first, so I thought I would educate myself,” Dieball said.
Although the Dieball farm doesn’t use rBST shots, Aly’s speech convinced judges otherwise. They noted her great depth of knowledge on the topic.
At the family farm, Aly feeds calves, helps with fieldwork, picks up bales, and assists with milking, among other tasks.
“She works hard,” Wendy Dieball said. “You always want the best for your kids, but when they work hard at something and do their best, it makes you happier than anything.”
The trip to New York was Aly’s first time on a plane. While in Saratoga Springs, located about three hours north of New York City, the Dieball family visited a horse track, toured six different farms, took a bus tour of the city, and attended an auction where a cow was sold for $115,000.
Aly will be an eighth grader at Sibley East in the fall. At school, she participates in in tennis, track, band and student guides. She is a constant member of the A-honor roll in school and has danced for 12 years. Aly also is active with the Minnesota Holstein Association and has been involved with 4H since kindergarten, where she currently serves as treasurer.
In the future, Aly would like to attend the University of Minnesota and become a veterinarian. The talented and incredibly busy 13-year-old keeps herself going by following her motto:
“Try your hardest in everything you do so you know you did your best.”
For the past three years, Aly has followed the wise words of her own and succeeded. She plans on participating in the speech competition as long as she can. Aly will attempt to make it four straight first-place finishes in state and four-straight trips to the National Junior Holstein Convention.
Next year’s competition will be in Washington. There’s a good chance Aly will hop on a plane and head west to represent Minnesota once again next June.