Hillsboro High School FFA dairy cattle judging team received a Silver Division award for finishing in the top 35 percent at FFA National Convention.
Junior Darren Mueller won an individual Gold Division award, for being in the top 10 percent of competitors. Sophomore Aaron Klassen and alumnus Andy Klassen each earned a Silver Division award. Alumnus John Hein placed in the bronze division.
“Nationals is really hard because it’s so different from our state competition,” sponsor Sonya Roberts said.
Unfortunately, the team missed much of the convention for competition, she said. They missed the opening speech by Mike Rowe, host of television’s “Dirty Jobs.”
Other HHS students attending the convention were seniors Neal Kaiser, Heather Goldsby, Mieka Serene, and Dianne Sanders; juniors Landon Herbel and Taylor Nikkel; and sophomore Seth Bartel. Roberts and co-sponsor Steve Bartel accompanied the students.
The group left Hillsboro Oct. 20 and returned Saturday. Students were able to attend speeches and a career show. The chapter participated in other activities, including a tour of the Indianapolis Speedway and a day trip to Louisville to see Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby, and Louisville Slugger.
Paralympic athlete Josh Sundquist gave a speech about persevering after losing a leg as a child. Roberts said a crowd of thousands of high school students was so quiet a listener could have heard a pin drop.
She said more than 51,000 people attended a Friday convention session, with even more on Saturday.
“Every year I go, I get goosebumps,” Roberts said.
She said everyone was kind of sick of one another when they arrived home, but the students formed good life-long memories.