USD 413 public relations
Persistence and perseverance paid off for Chanute High School junior Lane Roberts. While most competitions for students were cancelled this spring, Roberts took the one opportunity available to him to compete at state in animal science, and he was rewarded for his efforts with a first place award in his division by judges.
“I had a feeling that I did decent,” he said, following his online interview via Zoom. “They were kind of hard to read, but I also couldn’t see their faces that well. At the end they said I did a really great job, which kind of gave me a boost in confidence.”
A year ago, Roberts competed in vet science and milk quality and probably would have done that again. This year, because of the pandemic and COVID-19 restrictions, the only option open to him was animal systems at the Agriscience Research Fair.
“I was attracted to this topic because I like animal science and knowing what can help with the production of cattle, so this really fit me well,” he said.
Roberts connected with Jaymelynn Farney, the Beef Systems Extension Specialist for Southeast Kansas, who was conducting an experiment to learn if essential oils had an effect on the fly population on cattle. He was able to help her and her interns finish tabulating the results and use the experience to compete at state.
After counting flies on all the cattle, Roberts and the team recorded all of the data and put it into a program to get the end results.
For the animal science research competition, Roberts had to submit his application and manuscript online and then be interviewed by judges via Zoom.
“We also created a slideshow to present over Zoom to help with the flow of things in the presentation,” he said.
This is just the second year for the CHS FFA program which was re-established with the hiring of Ag Science teacher Caitlyn Wedel in 2018.
“I didn’t really expect to win it,” Roberts said, “because Hays High School’s Ag program has been around a lot longer than ours. When I finished my interview I knew I had done my best and if I didn’t win, I knew what to do different next time.”
This fall, Roberts has the opportunity to complete the application process to present at the national competition in the coming school year.
“It was definitely a long and trialing process, but it paid off in the end,” he added.