Space college students earn high agriculture honors | Information

Four area high school students will receive awards Monday, March 6, 2023, for their accomplishments in agriculture.

The FFA and 4-H students will receive their awards, sponsored by the Enid News & Eagle, before Monday’s premium sale capping the 89th annual Northwest District Junior Livestock Show. The awards presentation will begin at 6:20 p.m. in Chisholm Trail Pavilion, with the premium sale beginning at 6:45 p.m.

Judson Birdwell, of Kingfisher FFA, will receive the award as the top FFA student. Emma Curry, of Timberlake FFA, will receive the runner-up award.

The top 4-H students are Hayden Deeds and Conner Quintero, of Garfield County 4-H.

Judson Birdwell

“Growing up in a farm and ranching family, agriculture has been a part of my whole life,” Birdwell said in information provide with his award application. “Before joining FFA had ever crossed my mind I knew I loved everything about agriculture. As soon as I found out that there was a class I could take to help me learn more about what I love, I was all in. My love for agriculture, usable skills and showing livestock are just a few of the advantages of participating in the FFA.”

Early on, Birdwell recalls working with his dad fixing fence, working cattle and sewing and cutting wheat. Both of his parents come from farming/ranching families.

“Showing livestock has been a huge part of my life and also another reason I wanted to be a part of FFA,” he said. “Both of my parents showed livestock when they were younger and are involved in helping me succeed. From my very first heifer, Misty, to the one I am currently working with, there have been challenges and triumphs along the way. I have learned that it takes hard work and dedication to receive the desired outcome.”

Birdwell credits FFA with teaching him skills on the ranch, but also life skills, including managing his time, working hard and taking responsibility and caring for animals.

“I have acquired the skill of welding, which has already proven beneficial in the upkeep and improvement of our current facilities,” he said. “Last winter I bought a used welder to be able to save money and improve our facilities whenever we need. I have also used this skill to make keepsakes for a few of my family members.”

He also has learned to evaluate livestock, and has used that skill “to buy high-quality cattle for the price I am willing to pay.”

“… FFA has been and will continue to be an experience I can look back on and feel proud of my accomplishments,” Birdwell said. “I will continue to exhibit a love of all things agriculture, grow my skills and care for and raise livestock.”

Emma Curry

FFA has been a positive experience for Curry.

“I have been given incredible opportunities that have made me the person I am today,” she said. “The experiences and people I have encountered have inspired me for what I wish to be in my future and the impact I hope to make. I first stepped foot in the agriculture building in 2018 when I joined in eighth grade. I initially joined the FFA because I had friends joining and wanted to start showing cattle. From then on I was hooked. It was there that I truly began to come out of my shell and became more outgoing. I didn’t realize how much it would impact my future.”

In the spring of 2019, I began

Curry began showing heifers in 2019. It made me see the importance of work ethic and responsibility.

“No matter if I was busy with homework or was feeling under the weather, I still needed to feed my girls and prepare for the next show,” she said. “Not only did showing help me at home, but it did in the show ring as well. There, it was time to show what my hard work was accomplishing.”

She has participated in many other FFA activities, but her favorite and most motivating has always been FFA Alumni Camp.

“At Alumni Camp I always met new and amazing people. We would learn the importance of individual work, but also how working together to reach a goal is essential,” she said. “I learned how to apply my potential and motivation to my goals and how true leadership impacts others.”

All around, the FFA has inspired me greatly,” Curry said. “I have been moved by the community around me and the FFA members and advisors I have met across the state. These people have inspired me to continue to grow in agriculture and the FFA. This organization has encouraged me to become an educator within agriculture and inspire, motivate and impact students with or without an agriculture background. The FFA teaches and inspires young people, like myself, to learn about agriculture and I am very grateful for the opportunity it has given me and has inspired me to pass on those experiences to future generations.”

Hayden Deeds

Deeds is a six-year member of Garfield County 4-H as well as the Garber 4-H Club, and a fourth generation 4-Her.

He is a junior at Garber High School, where he also has been involved in band, football, baseball and FFA. During Hayden’s years in 4-H he has been active in several project areas in 4-H. He found his passion in the wildlife and fisheries project area.

Deeds has presented numerous workshops and working demonstrations educating other 4-H’ers as well as adults in the community members on the local, county as well the state levels. Some of the topics he spoke about was hunting safety, how to track and identify animals, and how to tie different fishing knots. Hayden was a Level 1 state project winner in wildlife and fisheries and a Top 3 Level 2 state finalist advance achievement.

His other project areas are citizenship/community service and leadership. He is a youth member of Garber Community Improvement Association, assisting with numerous events help in the community over the years. Deeds has organized a plastic bottle recycling collection at PT Coupling and the Great American Cleanup Project in Garber for several years. Numerous elderly community members were appreciative of his help to clean up their properties. In his leadership project area, he has held 4-H offices on the district, county and local levels, as well as organizing committees for several activities over his 6 years in 4-H.

His mother and stepfather are Lacey Deeds and Casey Wilkerson. He has three sisters, Madison and Brianna Deeds and Chloe Wilkerson.

Conner Quintero

Quintero is a freshman at Stillwater High School and is a seven-year member of Garfield County 4-H.

His main project areas are health and fitness, citizenship, community service and leadership. He currently is serving as a west district officer, as well as a member of the State 4-H Ambassador Team. He also serves as the Garfield County vice president.

Quintero has planned and pursued many community service projects that benefit children and adults with special abilities, as well as seniors living in assisted-living homes. One of his projects collects used cowboy boots and donates them to Bennie’s Barn, a therapeutic horseback riding facility in Enid. He has collected and donated more than 200 pairs of boots so far with this statewide project.

He enjoys spending his time helping others and lives by the motto, “Always leave a place better than when you found it.” Quintero is the teen leader and founder of the 4-H “FUN” Club, which focuses on fitness, developing a person with personal development and nutrition. He encourages youth to “Go Be You!” Recently, he was named the Institute for Child Advocacy’s Moran State Kidizenship Award winner.

Quintero is a member of the 6A II state champion Stillwater football team, playing quarterback. He is the son of Missy and Josh Quintero and grandson of Lewis and Cindy Conner.

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