Seniors Breeanna Hicks and Sydnee Bell have been schoolmates in the North Hopkins ISD since Pre-K and they will graduate in Spring 2019. Both have a love for animals and are among the 80-member North Hopkins FFA Chapter. Both girls are Vice-Presidents of the chapter, and both are showing livestock in the Feb 21-23 county show.
Breeanna Hicks, who was also 2017/2018 Fall Festival Cover Girl, is active in sports and hobbies but has a special love for agricultural interests. She began in middle school with Junior FFA, and this is her 6th year to enter Broilers in the county show. Along with her brother, they accepted a shipment of 50 day-old chicks about five weeks ago, and have seen them grow into good judging prospects. Out of Breeanna’s 25 chicks, she will ultimately select three which are about the same size and weight, to be judged as a “pen” on Friday February 22. Of course, both Breeanna and her brother hope to qualify for the Sale of Champions, to be staged by the Northeast Texas Livestock Association for the benefit of the student participants.
Sydnee Bell, a 3-year Varsity Softball player for North Hopkins, is also very involved with youth in agriculture. She helps daily in the care of the livestock on her family farm and with the very specialized tasks of raising a show goat. In her fifth year of entering a goat, she also hopes to “make the sale” with top judging scores during this week’s competition and showmanship divisions. Like Breeanna, Sydnee’s earnings of scholarship money over the past few years has helped her purchase her own vehicle, pay for dual-credit classes and get prepared to enter college in the Fall of 2019. Sydnee hopes to enter medical school, but feels she would also be fulfilled in a teaching career as a high school agriculture instructor.
During the past few years with Britany Bettes as Ag instructor, the North Hopkins FFA Chapter has performed service projects n the community. The members repainted the cabins at Cooper Lake State Park after water damaged the buildings, took part in the holiday Angel Tree program by the Senior Citizens Center in Sulphur Springs, and regularly cleans a 2-mile strip of roadway in the Adopt-a-Highway program. During Hurricane Harvey, the chapter members wanted to do something to help the stricken farms in the Houston area. They held donation drives, asking for money or supplies from individuals and business owners in Hopkins County. The members were surprised at the amount of feed, hay, water, shavings for dry bedding, feed buckets, etc. they collected. They loaded it all into a cattle trailer and drove it to Mt. Vernon, where they met with other chapters who had done the same. They saw it all loaded onto an 18-wheeler bound for areas where livestock needed help the most. “It was a great feeling to know that our small chapter could lend assistance to the victims who couldn’t speak for themselves, the animals” echoed both girls.
The public is invited to come and see the individual students show their animals in the ring and congratulate them on their projects. Admission is free to spectators. And on Saturday, everyone is invited to the Sale of Champions, where the top 15 animals of each specie will be auctioned off to the highest bidder, with proceeds going to the student livestock owners for their college scholarship funds. Everyone is invited to this most exciting local event of the year!