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Students excel at Pa. Farm Show

January 15, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- It was not an unfamiliar sight for Pennsylvanians -- snow lining the sidewalks leading to their state Farm Show complex.

It's long been said that Farm Show week brings winter's worst weather, a theory upheld when 24.4 inches of snow fell during the 1996 Farm Show. Thursday's dusting was more manageable, allowing for smooth travels for a group of Chambersburg (Pa.) Area Senior High School students.

Three students did a morning wiring demonstration, while six others presented information about the benefits of choosing live Christmas trees.

"It gives you experience with speaking in front of crowds, which is always a plus," said Heather Hartman, 16.

Chambersburg had a strong showing this week at the 93rd annual Farm Show, which continues through Saturday. Five FFA seniors received their Keystone Awards Monday, and Faust Junior High School and the high school participated in several events.

"We rehearsed a lot. We met every day and practiced our script," said Josh Funk, who rewired an outlet and circuit breaker with Charlie Coy and Travis Byers.

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The trio started putting their presentation together a month ago.

"We're not going to be electricians, but it's something good to know anyway on the farm," said Josh, 17.

The Christmas tree presentation, which highlighted that many recycling centers do not accept artificial trees, spanned about 17 minutes. Three judges evaluated content, presentation, appearance and effectiveness when the students took the stage three separate times in the exhibition hall.

Sam Davis, 16, tagged along to watch the presentation by her classmates. She never had been to the Farm Show and enjoyed exhibits on subjects such as genetic engineering.

"That stuff helps you know what you want to do after school," Sam said.

Also making her first trip to the Farm Show was Natalie Byers, who described the spectacle as "big and busy."

"I wish I had more time," said Natalie, 17.

Agriculture teacher and FFA adviser Eddie Parsons selected the Christmas tree theme at the start of the 2008-09 school year.

"They gave us a number of themes and asked us what we'd do with it," he said.

The Farm Show experience further allows students to develop their leadership, teamwork and public speaking skills, Parsons said.

"It gives relevance to what they're learning," he said.

Jamie Runk took skills learned in floral design classes and created a Valentine's centerpiece arraignment for the horticulture exhibits. She used miniature roses, pompons and carnations.

"You have to make everything flow together and make sure your colors go together," said Jamie, 16.

Jamie has visited the Farm Show every year since she was 4, but never found herself in the role of exhibitor before. Next year, she wants to let her imagination run wild for an arrangement.

"I thought it'd be interesting to see other people's and see how mine rates," Jamie said.

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