BRYAN, Texas — Rudder High School FFA is one of the top chapters in the state. Students like Courtney Thurman continue to prove that. She and Miranda Skaggs placed at the Texas FFA Leadership Career Development State Contest at Sam Houston State University on Dec. 6 - 7.
Skaggs placed second in Greenhand Creed Speaking State contest, while Thurman placed sixth in the Job Interview contest.
"These students, not only made it to state, but advanced past semi-finals and made it into the top 10," said Kacie Marchant, an agriculture science teacher at Rudder High School. "Competing on the second day is a huge deal in the state of Texas."
Most people when they think of FFA, picture raising animals. But the organization is teaching students like Thurman and Skaggs on how to become leaders.
"This is more personal," said Thurman, a junior at Rudder High School.
Thurman got involved in the contest after some influence from a friend. It seemed like a cool thing to do, but she could also benefit from it.
"Sure it will be fun as a contest in high school, but then after it'll help you for the rest of your life," Thurman said.
Thurman uses resources around her, like school staff and local businesses in town, to help get her job interviewing practice in.
"It teaches me really good skills that I know I'll be able to use when I need to get a job in the future," Thurman said.
In job interview competitions, FFA members go through everything they would as if they were to go in for an actual interview. To do well, Thurman said confidence is key.
"Not being worried about, 'What if I say the wrong answer?' Because confidence will carry you a long way in job interview competition," Thurman said.
Now and then nerves creep up, but to Thurman you just have to shake them off.
"I'll kind of dance around or something before I go in or take a deep breath right before I go in," Thurman said.
Although she is happy with her placement, Thurman knows big things are still to come next year.
"Last year I made it to state but didn't make it to the second day, this year I made to the second day," Thurman said. "I've definitely improved and hope to improve for next year."
There were more than 5,400 entries in the statewide tournament in 13 different events.
Rudder FFA was also a state semi-finalist in the Public Relations contest.