Area students take FFA honors

By Helena Rodriguez: FNM correspondent

Dora High School students have uncovered a lot of dirt at their school, and that helped them take first place in the homesite evaluation competition at the New Mexico State FFA Career Development competition.

The DHS homesite evaluation team — consisting of Jake Tayler, Chase Varnell and Calvin Tayler — were among a slate of area high school students who won honors at the statewide event held in Las Cruces on April 1-3. Students from Texico and Tucumcari also took some top honors, qualifying them to compete in the national FFA competition in Indianapolis in October.

“In our competition, we judged the land. We tested dirt to find the slope and erosion,” said Calvin Tayler, a Dora junior who also won the highest-point individual honor in the homesite evaluation category.

Tayler has been involved with FFA for four years.

FFA has been a family affair for Tayler. Tayler’s younger brother, Jake, was also a part of the winning homesite evaluation team this year, and he said his father was in FFA as a youth in Springer. Although Tayler plans to pursue a career in criminal justice at Eastern New Mexico University, he said, “In FFA, we have learned team-working skills and leadership. These skills will certainly help me.”

He said he plans to compete in FFA again next year.

Kit Pettigrew has been the Dora FFA chapter advisor for the past 21 years.

“Dora has always been a contender for the last 20 years,” Pettigrew said. “We have an exceptional set of kids and parents, and we also get good support from our community. FFA has been part of our heritage here because a lot of our students have brothers and sisters that have also judged in livestock competitions.”

The Dora FFA chapter also won first place in crops. The crops team consisted of Jordan Inge, Logan Bilbrey, Arlem Villegas and Ashlyn Myers.

Bilberry was the high-point individual in the crops competition.

In Texico, the FFA chapter placed first in the dairy cattle competition, with Fallon Scanlon winning the high-point individual honor. That team included Fallon Scanlon, Erin Scanlon, Morgan Pinnell and Garrett Foote.

The chapter also received first place in the entomology and poultry evaluation contests. Kayley Pelfrey won first place individual in the poultry contest, and Brett Anderson was high-point individual in the land evaluation contest.

The entomology team included Fallon Scanlon, Eric Scanlon, Holly Harrison and Kayley Pelfrey. The poultry team consisted of Kayley Pelfrey, Shay Anderson, Mitchell Harrison and Rustin Harris.

In addition, Texico’s eighth-grade quiz bowl team also won their contest. This team was made up of Sabra Barnett, Raelynn Prather, Elliot Pelfrey and Derrick Parkos.

“This has been one of our better years,” said Todd Pinnell, FFA advisor for Texico High School. We actually won four contests. We have good kids and, in my opinion, they worked really hard. Most of them are pretty young, too, so I think our best days are in front of us still.”