Bringing home the emblems

Clear Spring FFA members experience victory in Kentucky

Clear Spring FFA members experience victory in Kentucky

November 11, 2003|by MARLO BARNHART

CLEAR SPRING - It was win, place and show for the Clear Spring High School Future Farmers of America who recently returned triumphant from the National FFA Convention in Louisville, Ky.

"They really did well in all their projects," said Terrie Shank, one of two FFA teachers at Clear Spring. Shank is a veteran of 15 national FFA conventions as both student and teacher.

She and Susan Lowery, the other agriculture teacher at Clear Spring, headed up the team that consisted of more than a dozen students and former students. Some flew to Kentucky and others drove, but most endured a 12-hour bus ride to the event.


More than 51,000 youth and advisers from all over the country attended the event from Oct. 29 to Nov. 1 . The theme was "Living the Legacy."

  • The Clear Spring environmental/natural resources team won a gold emblem, which ranked it among the top 10 teams in the country, Shank said. Team members included Rebecca Funk, Dustin Reichard, Courtney Robinson and Ryan Shank. Lowery is the coach of that team.

  • Winning a silver emblem was the farm business management team, which was coached by Shank and made up of Ashley Keeney, Erin Weller, Karen Worthington and Katrina Hendershot.

  • For Justin Frey, his silver-emblem entry in the dairy handlers competition was more than academic. Frey, 18, lives on a farm and plans to go into dairy farming as a career.

    "I'm going to go to college to study dairy science," Frey said. This year's trip was his second to a national FFA convention.

  • The bronze emblem for agricultural communications went to Sara Wiles, Tara Brown, Erin Lewis and Dan Keener. That team was coached by Shank.

Joel Fitz, 16, and Hannah Smith, 15, were delegates representing the Western Maryland region at the convention. Both attended conferences while they were there, as well as the show competitions.

Also attending were Stephanie Moore and Joshua Lowman. Four of the competitors - Worthington, Keeney, Kesner and Ryan Shank - took time out from their college freshman studies to attend.

Terrie Shank said team members will be sharing what they learned at the convention throughout the region, which includes Washington, Allegany and Garrett counties. Team members also worked the Maryland - Our Farms, Our Future state booth at the convention.

Wiles, the reigning Maryland Farm Bureau agriculture ambassador, grew up around farming but doesn't plan on a future in that field.

"Still, as ambassador, I don't feel I can just walk away from that," she said, explaining why she attended the convention and remains active in FFA.

"I really enjoyed the competition in agricultural communications," Brown said. A senior, Brown, 16, said her team was challenged to inform the public via the various media. Some wrote press releases, others created radio and TV broadcasts, and others designed graphics.

"This was my third trip to nationals," Robinson said. President of the Clear Spring FFA chapter, she said this year's convention was a lot longer and much more diverse. She pointed to food science, land judging, horticulture and the environment as areas of interest.

Funk was a first-timer and thrilled to be on the gold emblem environmental/natural resources team.

"We were into water and soil analysis, as well as identifying animal and plant species," said Funk, 15.

In the farm business competition, Hendershot, 15, described a seven-hour test during which team members had to determine what is and isn't profitable on a farm.

"It really tests the kids' skills. They have to look at all the angles," Terrie Shank said.

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