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AFFAIRS OF OUR STATE: A GROWTH INDUSTRY HIGH SCHOOL KIDS WIN TRIP TO NATIONAL FFA CONVENTION.

Byline: Karen Maeshiro Staff Writer

QUARTZ HILL - State champions for the third year in a row, Quartz Hill High School Future Farmers of America will again represent California at the agriculture organization's national convention in Kentucky.

The Quartz Hill High students beat out 22 other FFA student chapters in designing an information booth that showcases California's agriculture industry.

``There's a panel of judges that goes through and looks at booths for interaction, quality of display, and the knowledge they represent,'' said Sharon Weisenberger, agriculture teacher and FFA adviser.

Four seniors will make the trip to the national conference, which runs from Oct. 30 to Nov. 2 in Louisville. After the convention, the students also plan a three-day trip to Washington, D.C.

The Quartz Hill High School chapter has won the national competition twice, in 2000 and 2001.

``There's sessions we can go to,'' said Connie Reichard, 17. ``We can meet with our national officers and pretty much have fun too.''

Sections of the award-winning booth are on display at the Antelope Valley Fair, including a 5-foot-tall map of California that displays where in the state different produce is grown, using photographs and small cardboard signs.

At the national convention, the signs will be replaced by real California grapes, oranges, alfalfa and other farm products and changed every day.

The students' booth will be set up in the Hall of States section, where every state association will have information on display about what kind of agriculture the state has.

``There are so many people who don't understand or know that California is the No. 1 agricultural state,'' Weisenberger said. ``It's a knowledge booth for people.''

The California booth also will have an interactive ``Jeopardy''-style game with questions about the state's agriculture, Weisenberger said. Prizes include hats and belt buckles, Weisenberger said.

Students are writing to businesses to donate prizes, the teacher said.

The display also will feature samples of the nearly 100 products of which California is the No. 1 U.S. producer, including kiwis, olives, dates, figs, persimmons and artichokes, Weisenberger said.

``It's so good for the kids to take on the responsibility of organizing and getting it back there, and it makes California agriculture look good too,'' Weisenberger said.

Three of the students who are going to the national convention are seniors, who are using the booth as their senior project, a new graduation requirement in the Antelope Valley Union High School District.

The other students going are Ashley Caudill, Nick Story and Cari Walters.

The Quartz Hill students will install the booth and train and oversee the more than 200 students from California who will man the booth.

Students are raising funds and soliciting the agriculture industry for donations to pay for the $12,000 trip, which covers the cost of travel, shipping and storage of the booth.

The state Future Farmers of America association has given the group $1,000, and an additional $3,000 has been donated by the Los Angeles County Farm Bureau, Weisenberger said.

Student fund-raisers include washing people's horses and making and selling tri-tip sandwiches at a Leona Valley store and getting half the profits, Weisenberger said.

About eight students worked on the booth project, both during class time and after school, Weisenberger said.

ANTELOPE VALLEY FAIR SCHEDULE

The 64th annual Antelope Valley Fair concludes today its 11-day run.

TODAY

Demolition Derby, 6:30 p.m. $15, $12. Hours noon-11 p.m. Admission is $2 per person.

ONGOING

Carnival rides, farm animals, flower exhibits, handicraft display, photo exhibit, gem and mineral display, bungee jumping, fishing demonstration, petting zoo, bicycle stunt show, chain saw sculpture.

THE FACTS

ADMISSION: General admission, $6; children 6 to 15 and seniors 55 and older, $4; children under 6 and active duty military personnel with identification, free. Grandstand event tickets include fair admission.

PARKING: $3.

LOCATION: 155 E. Ave. I, Lancaster.

INFORMATION: (661) 948-6060 or www.avfair.com.

CAPTION(S):

photo, box

Photo:

Connie Reichard, 17, left, and Nick Story, 16, inspect their Quartz Hill High School FFA chapter's booth about California's agriculture.

Jeff Goldwater/Staff Photographer

Box:

ANTELOPE VALLEY FAIR SCHEDULE (see text)
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Sep 2, 2002
Words:686
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