Photo contributed by Hermiston School District
The Hermiston FFA veterinary science team — composed of senior Dylan Westfall, juniors Adriann Stewart and Isel Tejeda Urenda, and sophomores Kennidy Baker and Jenna Wallace — took first place out of 21 schools that competed Saturday, Nov. 18 in state competition, hosted by HHS.
Westfall also claimed the top individual score in the state, on what was his 18th birthday. Baker and Wallace each had top-10 scores, at sixth and eighth, respectively. All five members will now put their skills to the test at the 91st National FFA Convention & Expo, Oct. 24-27, 2018 in Indianapolis.
Leah Smith, Hermiston FFA advisor, said she was not surprised to see her students win, but knew it wouldn’t be easy.
“Vet science is definitely one of the most difficult career development events we prepare for,” Smith said. “They put in countless hours (of preparation).”
There are six parts to the vet science event, each of which requires extensive memorization and quick thinking. The first section consists of hands-on demonstrations for handling and clinical procedures, such as giving a shot or applying a muzzle. Out of 45 possibilities, the students are given four tasks to perform in front of the judges.
From there, individuals must take a 50-question multiple choice test, a 10-question math exam, written exam and identification exam which includes different animal breeds, equipment and parasites. Finally, the team comes together for a 10-15 minute presentation, complete with props. For its presentation, the Hermiston team focused on the Veterinary Feed Directive, a set of regulations under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use of antibiotics in animal feed.
Wallace said the team spent weeks practicing every day at the school until 9 p.m.
“It’s a lot of preparation,” she said. “You just have to remember that, if you push through, it will probably make you a better person.”
The victory was especially sweet, Tejeda Urenda said, since the team was actually robbed of the chance to participate in last year’s event, which was held in Sutherlin though icy roads kept Hermiston from making the five-hour drive.
“We were excited for the chance to compete,” Tejeda Urenda said. “It was just really exciting to see all the hard work and dedication pay off.”
The Hermiston FFA agriculture sales team also competed at the state contest Nov. 18, placing eighth out of 20 schools. Team members included Wallace, along with Deven Hofbauer, Blake Betz and Joseph Knight. Individually out of 83 students, Wallace placed fourth overall.