Four students from Northside High School won second place in a state competition at the Georgia FFA convention held in April.
Brianna Beard, Kelly Patel, Kadie Martin and Aby Vogh, all ninth graders at the school, placed second in the Georgia FFA Nursery/Landscape Junior Career Development Event.
The team is overseen by Virgil Blalock, Northside High School agriculture teacher and FFA advisor.
The competition was broken up into two categories. In the first, the team had to identify 25 plants from either cuttings or an actual plant.
“They pick 25 out of over 100 for the competition,” explained Brianna. “You can not touch the plants, so you have to look for the little differences, not just the flowers but the leaves and other parts.”
“Sometimes it is the way the leaves are set, sometimes it is whether there are thorns or not,” said Kelly.
The team had 30 minutes to complete the first phase of competition.
Each team member had to take a written exam with the scores combined for a team score.
The Northside High School team earned their way from the Area competition to the 12 team state competition.
The written questions covered all aspects of landscaping from how to correctly plant a seed, tools used in landscaping, correct temperature and PH levels — with no specific book to study.
The team studied landscaping textbooks, old landscaping tests, their agriculture textbook among other sources — a learning experience for the team that goes beyond FFA competition.
“It is an opportunity to master knowledge about plants and horticulture,” said Kelly.
“I don’t plan on going into landscaping, I want to be a psychologist,” said Kadie. “But to know more about what God has given us to use, it is just amazing to know, to have the extra knowledge.”
Brianna received an individual award for her test score.
“After my name got called out for an individual award, I let myself think about us getting a team award,” said Brianna.
Winning state is a goal for the Northside High School team.
“We are going to start sooner studying for the written test. We got a perfect score on our plant ID test so we need to get the written test down pat,” said Brianna.
Alline Kent can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.