Polk County students excel in Oklahoma City

Published 6:19 pm Thursday, May 9, 2013


Polk County High School’s land judging team – made up of Caleb Brown, Mackenzie McCool, Caley Modlin and Elena Preston – showed off their extent of soil knowledge earlier this month as they soared over 102 teams to place eighth in the national FFA land judging competition.

Preston said she was proud of what the team accomplished.

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“Competing on a national level proves that Polk County can hold its own,” Preston said. “Overall, it was a great experience. Placing so high in the competition was surprising, but at the end of the day we knew we had the dedication to make it.”

The four students and sponsors traveled the 1,000 miles from Polk County High School to Oklahoma City, Okla. to compete. Once there, the teens had to prove their knowledge based on things such as soil composition, erosion, slope, woodland protection and flooding.

Teacher Chauncey Barber said the team has always aimed for perfection and it was that dedication that put them above so many other teams.

“They have had a superb attitude and drive to be the best,” he said. “They have always asked the hard questions at practice and, believe me, at times we do not know how to respond. They definitely think outside the box.”

Students are not simply judged on the types of soils and land uses they experience in their own backyards. They must have a wide understanding of soil types and concerns from all regions of the country. This includes understanding parameters to determine uses in urban areas related to septic systems, basements, foundations, landfills and landscaping.

“I think all of us really had the drive to want to place so high that we put a lot of our time studying and asking questions, which made us do well,” said Preston.