By Helena Rodriguez
Students in FFA are traditionally groomed for a life in agriculture. One Dora High School student, however, hopes the program will open doors to another career.
Allie Brooks, 15, recently won the state FFA Career Development Talent Show at the FFA state convention in Las Cruces. After beating out 14 other competitors at state, she will move on to the national FFA talent competition in October in Louisville, Ken.
Before she heads to nationals, area residents can hear the sandy brown-haired, brown-eyed teen-ager sing during this weekend’s Roosevelt County Heritage Days celebration in Portales. Brooks will sing Friday and Saturday night during the Christian Country Jamboree which runs from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the City Park.
Brooks will sing a selection of Christian country songs she sung at FFA nationals, such as “When God Fearing Women Get the Blues” by Martina McBride, selections by LeAnn Rimes and songs with a contemporary pop sound.
“That particular song by Martina McBride really showcases my voice,” said a confident Brooks, who will be entering her junior year at DHS this fall.
Brooks’ mother, Millie, of Portales, said that with no music program in the Dora Schools, Allie’s singing talent comes natural. It hasn’t hurt though, with Millie being a speech language pathologist. She has helped Allie with her voice.
“I got started singing with my mom for fun and with the radio,” Brooks said. “I like to sing songs that challenge me.”
Allie has received plenty of practice singing, too. She entertained for the Soil and Water Conservation District and Peanut Valley Festival in Portales, the Floyd Country Jamboree and the West Texas Roots Festival in Lubbock, to name a few places. She has also sung solos at her church.
Dora FFA instructor Kit Pettigrew said Allie is a unique student with an extremely developed work ethic.
“Allie is highly committed to whatever she does,” Pettigrew said. “This is the second year she has made it on the state level in the FFA talent competition.”
Pettigrew said FFA has been having talent competitions for at least 20 years.
“It’s good exposure for the kids,” Pettigrew said. “The talent competition is one of several different career development events FFA has.”
Brooks plans to pursue a career in music, and if that doesn’t work out, in agri-law.
She hasn’t done bad in the FFA ag competitions either. She was on a state-winning crop judging team, was a state winner in the creed contest two years ago, and last year was the national champion in the FFA creed competition. She will serve as the FFA District IV vice-president during the upcoming school year.