Each student paid $5 to attend the event as a way to raise money and awareness for the homeless; $185 and some food supplies were collected. All proceeds were donated to The Caring Kitchen. The event opens up students’ eyes to how cold and uncomfortable being homeless is and students take the time to consider how fortunate they are. Realizing that the homeless have to deal with it every night rather than just one night.
We would like to thank our advisor chaperones, Christy Wilhelm for making chicken noodle soup, Joe Jackson for donating pizza, and all the students who participated. It was a great experience and we look forward to doing it again in the future.
UHS grad started life goals early
“As a part of the Ag program, students are required to have a supervised agricultural experience. Justin chose to get a job as his project and started working at Farmer’s Equipment in Urbana his freshman year,” said FFA Advisor Mallory Zachrich. “He started as a basic helper doing simple tasks like cleaning, taking out trash, sweeping floors. From there he flourished with his passion for equipment and mechanics. Justin observed veteran mechanics, took on small tasks, gained experience and trust and took on more and more responsibilities.”
After graduation, Preece attended the Hobart Institute of Welding on several scholarships and earned his welding certifications in 10 months.
Preece explained the steps to success in a recent interview.
“My SAE (supervised agricultural experience) project is working at Farmers Equipment in Urbana,” Preece told Brownfield Ag News for America. “I started working there as a freshman in high school. Over the years I got more and more tasks. It grew from me cleaning, to me assembling new augers and working on new combines. After graduating, I got a full-time position at Farmers Equipment. Now I am the lead technician for our Kubota line. As it goes on, I have learned more and more.”
Preece said his grandfather’s John Deere 3020 sparked his interest as a young child.
“Being around that atmosphere, I always wanted to stick to it. It is what I grew up around,” he said.
According to Zachrich, Preece was extremely active in the FFA chapter at Urbana. He participated in numerous career development competitions, attended several leadership conferences and conventions, served on planning committees, served as an officer and finished out his senior year as the chapter president.
Preece participated in the calf scramble at the Champaign County Fair and showed his calf in 2019.
During Preece’s senior year, he took on a project of restoring a 1951 Farmall H that was donated to the chapter by a former Urbana Ag teacher.
“His hard work has provided the chapter with a beautiful tractor to use at events like Farm Day to give elementary students hay rides and at the annual homecoming parade,” said Zachrich.
Preece was awarded the Champaign County FFA boy of the year award at the 2021 fair.
By Dani Schipfer - Mechanicsburg FFA Reporter
“We completed a service project with the Pre-K students last spring where we grew Marigolds for each student to have as a gift for Mother’s Day,” said Ali Peterson, the advisor and instructor for the OHP Graham Middle School FFA Chapter.
“State FFA Convention was virtual last spring, so as part of our virtual trip we spent time with the Pre-K students decorating their flower pot to take home. That service project went well, so we wanted to expand this year.”
“I am very thankful for this opportunity,” said Lauran. “I really can’t wait to represent Champaign County not only here, but at other fairs. This is a great feeling.”
Speaking from experience, she explained the importance of learning and trying new ideas even when intimidated.
“Try something new,” she encouraged. “I have tried so many different species and I have had fun with everything. I tried this queen competition and it has really worked out great for me.”
Lauran’s favorite fair memory was the year she competed against her brother in swine showmanship. She remembers they worked as a team, anticipating either one’s win a success. “He ended up beating me, but I was still really proud of him,” she said.
“Swine is my favorite,” she said. “I am really competitive, so I have always had fun being in the competition.”
Lauran is appreciative of the Vernon Funeral Homes staff, her family and friends for making the competition possible.
“They have done so much for us, I couldn’t be here today without them,” she said.
“This feels unreal,” said first runner-up Blakeman, “I never expected this to happen, I did not think I could do it. It took a lot of self-confidence and practice.”
The daughter of Brian Scott and Kelly Blakeman, she is a 2021 Mechanicsburg High School graduate.
Blakeman said that through the competition, she was able to meet new people and make new friends. She said that her journey last year was tough due to COVID-19 and is grateful that restrictions have been lifted.
“The hardest part was when our show rings were blocked off and no one could come to the shows. It was hard. Because of my supporters, I have been able to make the most of my time here.”
Blakeman said her biggest role model is her sister. “She has autism and has taught me to live every moment to the fullest,” she said.
Second runner-up Wilhelm, living in Clark County, said, “Being out of town has been hard, I was born and raised in Champaign County. everyone has been so welcoming and nice to me.”
Wilhelm said Lora Current has been her inspiration, watching her become Champaign County Fair Queen, Ohio’s Fair Queen and current Miss Ohio.
“Even if you’re from a small town,” said Wilhelm, “you can still do big things.”
Daughter of Debra and Bobby McClure and Chris Wilhelm, she will be a senior at Greenon High School.
2020 Champaign County Fair Queen McKenzie Hoewischer
Hoewischer gave words of encouragement as she passed the title of Champaign County Fair Queen to Bailey.
“It feels great to be here after what we went through last year,” said Hoewischer. “The greatest thing I have learned this year is to make the most out of every situation. COVID put a big halt on our lives. My excitement for having a full fair this year is through the roof. Even though I have had a very different experience than most past queens because of COVID, it has made me more motivated to make the most out of every event and fair I visited. ”
The Leadership Champaign County program offers participants in-depth, “behind the scenes” looks at local government, education, and healthcare, among other exclusive opportunities. Participants tour farms, factories, and other local facilities while learning from business owners and community leaders about a wide range of topics. Hands-on activities throughout the program sessions encourage group collaboration and leadership development.
The program meets the third Thursday of every month from September - May. Each full-day session features a different topic; topics include Agriculture, History and Heritage, Education, Economic Development, Government, Healthcare, and Quality of Life.
Applications are available on the Chamber’s website at https://www.champaignohio.com/leadership-champaign-county and will be accepted through September 6. Interested parties are encouraged to contact the Chamber with any questions by emailing email@example.com or calling 937-653-5764.