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Three months of work, dozens of after-school pizzas and showing up at 4:30 a.m. to cut up fresh fruit all paid off this past week for the Cedar Key FFA chapters.
The FFA will be sending five teams to the state Ornamental Horticulture finals later this month at the University of Florida.
During Ornamental Horticulture competitions, students working alone or in teams of two demonstrate how to use fruits, vegetables and flowers in specific ways. In a 7-to-10 minute long demonstration, the students explained what they were doing, how their creation could be marketed or used, as well as the costs, nutritional values and other strategies for their project.
The regional competition in Mayo (in Lafayette County) was held April 5 and drew FFA teams from Williston to the Georgia border. When it was over, Cedar Key was ranked in the top three of every event the chapter entered.
The top two teams in each category advance to the state competition which will be held at the University of Florida on April 27.
First place finishers from Cedar Key included:
- Sarah Bartholemy and Taryn Epperson for the shark they carved from a watermelon as part of the high school consumer use category.
- Nathanael Brinkman and Taylor Davison for the car they carved from a watermelon in the middle school consumer use category.
Second place teams from Cedar Key included:
- The senior high marketing team of Lauren Bartholemy and Laia Gore for Super Citrus, their plan to manufacture and sell facial scrubs and other products made from citrus fruit.
- The middle school marketing team of Ashlyn Allen and MacKenzie Kirkbride for Island Delights, their plan to manufacture and sell edible fruit arrangements in mugs that promote tourism in Cedar Key.
- The senior high school artistic arrangement team of Jemima Cahours and Mikayla Pope for their underwater floral arrangement of blue orchids.
Cedar Key also placed third in the high school production category when Brooke Allen demonstrated how a syphon system could be used to reduce the need for pumps in a hydroponic gardening system.
All of the competitors are particularly appreciative of the help they received from Island Pizzeria and Jolie Davis to make it to the regional competition, said FFA advisor Denny Voyles.