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Elizabethtown FFA Members Win National Awards

Nov 8th, 2010 | By | Category: Features, Lead 2

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November 8, 2010— Courtney Orban and Cassidy Cheddar, both members of Elizabethtown Area High School’s Future Farmers of America (FFA) Chapter, earned gold medals at the National FFA Career Development Event in Indianapolis, IN. Joining Orban and Cheddar on the medal stand from Elizabethtown were silver medalists Taylor Noll, Evy Zaleski, Sarabeth Royer, and Austin Albright, as well as bronze medalists Erin Himes and Jennifer Royer.

The Career Development Event helped students from all across the country develop the abilities to think critically, communicate clearly, and perform effectively in the competitive agriculture industry. Orban, Noll, Zaleski, and Himes earned their honors in the Horse Evaluation category, while Cheddar, S. Royer, Albright, and J. Royer earned their honors in the Dairy Foods Evaluation.

All eight students also took part in the team competition. The four-person team of Zaleski, Noll, Orban, and Himes won the silver medal in the Horse Evaluation category. Also earning a national silver medal was the four-person team of Albright, J. Royer, S. Royer, and Cheddar in the Dairy Foods Evaluation category. To qualify for the national team events, both groups of students won their respective categories at the Pennsylvania FFA State Championships.

The horse evaluation category was a competitive activity that tested the student’s ability to select and evaluate horses. Participants in the event were asked to evaluate eight classes of horses composed of performance events or halter classes. Competitors gave oral reasons for their selections.

Both Orban and Noll enjoyed the experience of mingling with their teammates and the other students from across the country.

“It was so amazing to meet people from all over the country,” Orban said. “I would love to pursue a career working with horses and enjoyed the opportunity to share my knowledge with my teammates and other attendees.”

“It was really cool to see students from big cities in California and New York with an interest in horses,” Noll said. “It was nice to work with my classmates. Each of us had our own strong points that we contributed to the team.”

The dairy foods evaluation afforded the students the opportunity to prove their knowledge about the recognition, selection, and management necessary for quality dairy foods. Participants were asked to test milk samples for flavor and according to USDA standards, as well as identify cheese samples. In addition, participants evaluated milker part units for the number and severity of defects. Finally, a written exam was given to assess participants’ knowledge of milk production and marketing. Turkey Hill Dairy donated $500 to the Dairy Foods Team to help cover the cost of the trip.

According to S. Royer, the trip to Indianapolis was and incredible experience that helped her learn about the dairy industry in general. “The most difficult part was the milk identification,” S. Royer said. “While it was different and hard it definitely was a real life application of what we are learning in the classroom.”

Elizabethtown’s FFA program is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. Mark Anderson, agricultural science teacher at the high school, is the club advisor.

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