Cedar Key Junior FFA takes State

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By The Staff

Special to The Beacon

The smallest school in Florida brought home a state championship in FFA forestry on Friday.

The Cedar Key Middle School FFA Chapter won in spectacular fashion. Collectively the team placed first in four of the six categories and placed third in another. Each of the four team members was thewinnner of one of the categories and one team member, Kira Telgen, was named the middle school individual champion.

This is the first state championship for the three year old FFA chapter.

"Back in August we set our goal to win the state and whenever we met, our motto was 'Good, better, best. Never let it rest until your good is better and your better is best,'" said DennisVoyles, the team's trainer and FFA advisor. "All four team members were seventh graders and every one of them had to participate in all six areas of the contest. I was amazed that each one of them won a category. That shows you how well balance our team was. "

Taryn Epperson won first place in map interpretation. She was the most accurate at identifying symbols and land features on U.S. Geological Survey topographical maps as well as interpreting legal descriptions based on the U.S. system of section, township and range references. Collectively the team placed third in this event.

Kit Riley won the forestry tool identification portion of the contest for his ability to correctly identify and spell the names of dozens of tools used in all phases of forest operations.

Michael Shewey won the dendrology portion of the contest by correctly identifying the most trees based on a leaf sample as well as correctly spelling and matching the common and scientific names of the trees.

On her way to winning the individual championship by having the highest cumulative score of all contestants, Kira Telgen placed first in tree disorders - those conditions caused by insects of diseases which was damages or kill trees.

The team began practicing in August and had to beat 26 teams in a district contest to advance to the two-day state championship in Perry. The Florida Division of Forestry hosted the contest at the Forest Capital State Museum.