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Fredonia FFA Wins Gold

Jan 10, 2007

Hard work, lots of after school practices and devotion paid off for Kendra Linnebur, Fredonia, Kan., FFA advisor, and her students, as they recently returned home from the National FFA Convention winners of the Agricultural Communications Career Development Event. Linnebur, in her fifth year at Fredonia, felt as though she was just as excited about winning as her students were.

Fredonia's national champs-from left, Advisor Kendra Linnebur, Abby Bracken, Haley Compton, Jade Comstock, Chase Marr, Sarah Gray and Tom Davis of Successful Farming.

This is the first time for me to ever win anything at Nationals," she explains. "This just goes to show that hard work really does pay off."

To compete at Nationals they first had to win state.

According to Linnebur, the format of the state competition was a little different than the contest at National's.

"At state, there were four kids on the team, each of them focusing on a specific area of agricultural communications," Linnebur explains. "They all had to take two tests as well as attend a press conference."

The students and their projects were:

  • Abby Bracken-News Writing
  • Haley Compton-Press Release Writing
  • Jade Comstock-Radio Broadcast
  • Chase Marr-Graphic Design

"They all attended a mock press conference at the state competition and each of them covered it from a different angle," Linnebur says.

Linnebur, as well as the Ag Communications team, didn't feel too strong about their performance at state. But, when it was all said and done they had beat 27 other teams in the state of Kansas and were headed to the National FFA Convention.

According to her the National competition was very similar, two tests were given, however, a fifth practicum was added.

"This was the first year for the fifth practicum which was Website Design," Linnebur says.

Sarah Gray filled the fifth spot on the team as the Website designer.

Before attending the National Convention the team had to come up with an Agricultural Communications Proposal.

"They had to come up with a proposal that had something to do with environment," she explains.

After brainstorming the team chose Meth Watch as their project.

"They had to show how the increase in meth production and sales had an impact environmentally on the area."

At Nationals the teams made their presentations and were judged accordingly.

"We ended up second in the room we were in and didn't think we had a chance at winning," Linnebur says.

Although the kids were discouraged, she said all of them knew it was a major accomplishment just to compete at the National Convention.

"At the banquet later they announced the finalists in three different categories, Bronze, Silver and Gold," she explains.

As it turned out, all five of the Fredonia members were named in the Gold Division.

Not only did they all place in the Gold Division, Haley Com-pton was named the First High Individual and Sarah Gray placed fifth.

"Each of the students received a $1,000 scholarship as well as medals and plaques," Linnebur says.

Although winning on the National level is huge, Linnebur feels the students got way more out of it then plaques and scholarships.

"This really opened the students' eyes about agricultural communications," she explains. "This showed them what is available to them in the real world as far as career opportunities are concerned."

Three of the five team members plan on pursuing ag communications after graduation.

According to Sarah Gray, people have already been asking her to design Websites for them.

"I would like to get into this as a career," she explains.

Jade Comstock plans on attending college and majoring in agricultural communications or journalism.

"I would like to work for a horse magazine or something in the equine business," she says. "In addition to the writing I would like to become a photo journalist."

Haley Compton would like to take her experience in learning to write press releases and use it further in life.

"I like writing press releases, but I would like to work in public relations on a professional level," Compton explains.

Everyone on the team admits that winning has been more than just bringing home plaques, medals and scholarships.

"Our whole town is proud of us and that shows us how big of a deal this was to win," Sarah Gray concludes.

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