Two Moscow High School students were stunned during the recent National FFA Agriscience Fair as the third- and second-place projects in their division were announced. Their names hadn’t been called, and that could only mean one thing.
Through the microphone and in front of thousands of members at the convention, they finally heard what they had been thinking.
They had won.
Moscow’s Samantha Smith and Simon Salisbury received first place in the fourth division of animal systems during the fair in late October in Indianapolis.
“We have a video of our chapter and you can hear everybody gasping and saying, ‘Top 5! Top 4! Top 3!’ ” Samantha Smith said. “We didn’t even expect to be in the top 5.”
Both Smith and Salisbury qualified in early September to compete in the agriscience section of the convention through their extensive examination of the effects of Gold Dust feed supplements on sheep weight during travel.
With each receiving a gold medallion and $1,000 for first place, Smith and Salisbury are more excited about the recognition their work would receive and believe this was the most important part of their joint project.
“This is really valuable information, I think, for the livestock industry,” Salisbury said.
They both also emphasized how important this project was for them to grow as people.
“We learned how to do a grant application, going through the processes of interviews and then coming together as a team to achieve a common goal,” Smith said.
The fair drew 60,000 FFA members and guests from around the country to Lucas Oil Stadium where the event was hosted. All attendees took part in seven sessions filled with information, activities and motivational speakers to fill their days.
The Moscow students recognized that their 12-person chapter is much smaller than others, such as those from Texas whose chapters arrived with hundreds of kids.
Regardless, the numbers weren’t intimidating for them, but more fascinating for them to see so many people come together “advocating for the livestock industry.”
“It was a lot of fun,” Salisbury said. “It was totally worth it.”
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