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Thorsby FFA advances to national competition

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

The Thorsby High School FFA is headed to nationals after five teams advanced in the state competition.

The Thorsby teams were recognized during an award ceremony on June 8 during the Alabama FFA Convention. Teams competing in meat evaluation, poultry evaluation, horse evaluation, Envirothon and dairy evaluation placed first. These teams will represent Alabama at the week -long National FFA competition in Indiana this October.

FFA teacher Brian Lucas said the students had been preparing for the competition since October 2016.

“The teams meet and we go through each individual part of the contest one at a time,” Lucas said. “To be a state champion at anything takes a lot of effort.”

He said the students put in countless hours perfecting their skills and presentations. He said it was “amazing ” to see the students do so well.

“There aren’t words big enough to describe how I feel about it,” Lucas said.

Lucas said the FFA students learn teamwork and problem solving as well as develop self-confidence through the competition.

Dairy Team members were Jason Brackner, Rianna Green, Kailey Acreman, Cody Lucas and Carson Littleton.

“I’m so happy. This has been my fourth year doing this team,” Green said.

Each year the team did better than the year before, prior to taking first this year. Green said the team had some tough competition because dairy is a more prevalent in other areas of the state.

“You are going up against some people who really know what they are doing,” Green said.

The competition consisted of ranking a class of dairy animals and defending the rankings.

Green said she initially joined the team because Lucas asked her to.

“He saw potential in me, and he told me that he wanted me to be on this team,” Green said. “From then on, I just fell in love with it.”

Horse Evaluation Team members were McKinley Mims, Brooke Lewellen, Emma Dispennette, Laina Prady and Olivia Powers. Poultry Evaluation Team members were Littleton, Jerrett Posey and Cole Hight. Envirothon Team members were Littleton, Jason Brackner, Posey, Addie Niamon and Alexa Forrest. Meat Evaluation Team members were Cole Wilson, Rosa Hernandez Contreras, Kristin Morrison and Rylie Scarbrough.

Morrison, a senior in high school, said she was on a team with three eighth-grade students.

“They had never competed on this level before, so we spent countless hours studying before and after school,” Morrison said.

At the state competition, she was nervous at first, but felt “calm and confident” once the competition started.

“To know that my team and four other teams are going to go on to represent the state of Alabama is a huge relief and an honor and [it is] a blessing that we did win first place,” Morrison said.

She said she enjoys the family atmosphere and accountability the members share even across teams.

Thorsby also had three individual first place wins: Kailey Acreman in Science Environmental Systems, Rebecca Bland in Agri-Science Animal Systems Management and Littleton in Diversified Horticulture SAE.

Brackner, Posey, Lucas, Green, Littleton and Blake Turner earned State FFA Degrees.

The chapter also received the National Superior Chapter Award.