Present at the meeting was recent Sonoraville High graduate Hunter Pruitt, national first place winner at last year’s FFA competition, along with Sonoraville High Freshman, twin team Laurie and Kevin Edwards.
Pruitt took first place in agriscience for testing deer supplements to find which were the most preferred. Involved in Pruitt’s project was a two year commitment and dedication to return to feeding sites 740 consecutive days to record findings.
“It was just a real honor to have it come to completion and be able to go off to college with it ending in a national championship,” said Pruitt, who returned from his college duties in Athens, to attend the board meeting.
“When somebody wants to know how education is succeeding in Gordon County, I reference Hunter because what he has done is he has pulled together multiple disciplines,” said Superintendent Dr. Bill McCown. “He has pulled together statistics, he has pulled together agriculture, integrated science and put it all together and that is what education is all about.”
Laurie and Kevin Edwards were freshman when they received first place at the national competition as well. Their project involved testing estrous rates in cows, which determines when a cow ovulates an egg to be bred, according to the team.
“We tested whether or not you go with a natural estrous cycle or a synchronized estrous cycle and that just means you give them extra hormones to stimulate,” said Laurie.
“This is very big to us because we bred our own cow herd so we wanted to bring in statistics not only to us, but also to farmers all around the world,” said Kevin.
“These kids are the greatest people to work with,” said Sonoraville Agriscience teacher Sara Clark. “The best part about that is they have cultivated more behind them, so we have more coming.”
The first home schooled student to compete with Gordon Central FFA, Gibson Priest, received the highest title of High Individual at the national competition in livestock judging, out of more than 200 students.
“We have to not only evaluate live animals in pens and on the hoof, but we also have to take a written exam as far as our knowledge about the livestock industry and we have a breeding exam as wells as a “keep/cull” where we decide what animals we would keep and add to our herd and which animals we would cull,” said Priest of his experience at the competition.