HS Senior Named NYS Maple King

CHS Senior Named NYS Maple King
Posted on 01/27/2020
High school senior Kyle Hale has been named New York State’s first-ever Maple King!

Kyle, a student at Canastota and Madison-Oneida BOCES, received the honor during the Mid-Winter Maple Classic annual state conference in January, alongside the Maple Queen. The conference is hosted jointly by the New York State Maple Producers Association and the New York FFA Alumni.

For the remainder of the year, Kyle will serve as an ambassador for the state’s maple industry, appearing, speaking and presenting during fairs, parades, festivals, conferences and other events.

Several counties around the state have had maple kings before, but no males have applied or competed before for the title at the state level, said Laurie Jean Britton, coordinator of the NYS Maple King/Queen Contest. Once their written application is accepted, candidates complete a private panel interview, a prepared speech and answer spontaneous questions during the competition.

“Maple experience helps, but enthusiasm is really the big thing. We want our ambassadors to be good representatives of the maple industry,” Britton said. “Kyle had some great ideas, so we’re eager to see what he and the queen do this year.”

Kyle said one of his passions is promoting the agriculture industry.

“I love advocating for agriculture and FFA” he said. “I am extremely lucky to have this position and be able to do something I love.”

Kyle developed an interest in maple as a sophomore. He began learning as much as he could about the industry and tapped five trees to see if he enjoyed the work. As a junior, he enrolled in the Conservation program at MOBOCES and eventually grew to tapping 50 trees. He plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in agriculture business and a master’s degree in agriculture education, with a goal of becoming an agriculture teacher.

He has been active with FFA for five years and has served as Canastota’s chapter president for the past four years, representing his school, county and state at the New York State Fair, at various conferences and competitions, and through a new travelling Maple Experience educational exhibit. Last year, he earned his Empire Degree from NYS FFA and is currently working on his American Degree from the National FFA; he also plans to run again for state office this spring.

Canastota FFA adviser Paula Burnor said Kyle is an excellent student who always strives to improve himself and goes above and beyond what is asked of him.

“Kyle’s biggest strength as Maple King will be his ability to relate to people and advocate for the maple industry, which is such a big part of Kyle’s life,” she said. “He is a great spokesperson and an even better advocate when he truly is passionate about something.”

NYS Maple King