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Pa. teen stands out at fair, in 4-H

August 31, 2004|by BONNIE H. BRECHBILL

bonnieb@herald-mail.com

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - A multitalented Antrim Township teenager took home trophies, rosettes and ribbons from the Franklin County Fair last week.

Sarah Signore, 15, excelled not only with her musical talent, but also with her farm-related pursuits.

A sophomore at Greencastle-Antrim High School, Sarah sang "Only Hope" by Mandy Moore in the youth talent contest, and won the top prize. "The judges look at tone, loudness and audience appeal," Sarah said.

She must have had all three working in her favor, because she wowed the judges again in the Karaoke contest for youth 17 and under with her rendition of the Shania Twain song, "Man I Feel Like a Woman." The first place trophy for that competition is in the Signore's living room, along with a box of ribbons and another of rosettes won at the fair starting in 1998.

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Sarah's musical talent is not limited to voice. She plays the oboe in the school band, and sings with the school chorus and at St. Mark's Catholic Church in Greencastle, Pa.

This year, the rosettes added to Sarah's collection are for Owner/Breeder in the Jersey cow show, Master Shower in the 4-H Showing and Fitting competition, Youth Vegetable Market Basket and Youth Vegetable Home Garden Basket.

The baskets are artistic arrangements Sarah created with vegetables she grew at home and at her grandmother's nearby farm. The Market Basket requires five or more different vegetables, while the Home Garden Basket requires 10 or more.

A member of the Greencastle-Antrim 4-H Dairy Club, Sarah keeps her cows and calf at her grandmother's farm. All the cows have princess names, Sarah said; Anastasia, Rapunzel, Princess and Priscilla.

She said 4-H helps her to "learn more about cows, and to have fun with them.

"They've always been my favorite animal, and 4-H is another learning experience to have with them, especially if I go on to be a veterinarian," she said.

"I like to go to dairy promotions (with the cows.) Sometimes people say, 'I've seen cows in a field, but I've never touched them before,' and I say, 'here.'"

Sarah's close-knit family has helped her to succeed. Her parents, Dan and Darlene Signore, are supportive of her many activities, and her aunt, Joyce Nowell, is her project helper for 4-H.

"It takes three adults to work with all her activities," Darlene Signore joked. Sarah's sister and brother, Erin, 23, and Danny, 18, no longer live at home.

Greencastle-Antrim 4-H Dairy Club leader Janice Oliver of Greencastle said that Sarah is "very enthusiastic. She's the one who would volunteer to do our scrapbook, which was a lot of work. She helped with the exhibits at the fair, and always seemed to enjoy showing (cows). It takes a lot of time to fulfill her obligations, and she's dedicated to doing that.

"I enjoyed working with her. She loves life, and is a very talented, all-around kid," Oliver said.

The Showmanship rosette is for the cleanliness of the animal and also how the 4-H'er handles the cow, Sarah explained.

"I body-clipped and washed her a few days before the show, then washed her again the morning of the show, did her top line, fluffed her tail and cleaned her ears with rubbing alcohol," she said. The latter task "was not the most fun thing," she added.

Sarah has been close to her dairy cattle for years. When she purchased her first calf, Anastasia, in Mercersburg, Pa., "I rode in the back of a Dodge Durango with her, and held her the whole way home. It was a bonding experience," she recalled.

"Her love of animals flowed into her community service," Darlene Signore said. As a high school project, students at Greencastle-Antrim have to complete 30 hours of community service before graduation; Sarah is doing her hours at the Antietam Humane Society in Waynesboro, Pa., where she does laundry, cleans out cages and "gives the animals some TLC to make them lovable so people will want to adopt them," Sarah said.

Even with her hectic schedule, Sarah said she has "plenty of time for friends." She is on her school's softball and field hockey teams and participates in drama club.

Sarah has worked hard at improving her softball pitching, her mother said.

"The Olympic softball games were fun to watch this year," Darlene Signore said.

"Hey, in four years maybe I'll be there," Sarah added.

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