Frenship FFA students win third at area talent competition

Maci McCabe plays guitar and Kaitlyn Schaffner sings at the FFA area talent competition in Amarillo after winning first at the district competition.

Maci McCabe plays guitar and Kaitlyn Schaffner sings at the FFA area talent competition in Amarillo.

Kaitlyn Schaffner and Maci McCabe have a lot of experience in traditional FFA activies, such as raising and showing animals.

But recently FFA gave them a chance to show off a different side … winning third place at the FFA area convention talent competition.

Schaffner sang accompanied by McCabe on an acoustic guitar.

The Frenship High School seniors competed against four teams in the district competition.

After winning first place they attended the area convention. They performed two songs at the convention and were judged by 200 of their peers who voted on the winners.

McCabe has been playing guitar for four years and had never performed in front of an audience until this competition, where she performed in front of more than 400 people.

“I was so scared that I was about to throw up,” said McCabe. “I had never been that scared in my whole life. I was literally shaking.”
Schaffner sang in the competition last year and has been in choir since sixth grade, but has been singing her entire life.

“I love singing and performing and just entertaining,” said Schaffner. “I admire people who can sing and perform and be role models for young girls.”

She knew she needed someone to play an instrument with her this time, which is how she and McCabe began performing together. They started practicing about three weeks before the district competition and are already planning next year’s trip. The girls hope to add more people to their duo and possibly hold tryouts.

Schaffner’s father, Dale Schaffner, is an agriculture teacher at FHS and attended the competition. He said his daughter has always enjoyed singing.

Besides taking part in the FFA area talent competion, both girls also take part in more traditional FFA activities such as raising and showing animals.

McCabe currently has 39 sheep and one steer, and during the school year, Schaffner shows pigs. Students in FFA raise their animals to sell at shows and get to keep some or all of the proceeds they earn from the sale. McCabe sold a sheep for $20,000 one time, and her sister sold a lamb for $158,000 last year and got to keep $40,000.

“People can actually pay their entire college tuition from the sale of one animal sometimes,” said McCabe.

Much of the money is similar to a donation to the student who raised the animal and sometimes part of the money goes to other charities the buyer chooses, said Dale Schaffner. The animals are mostly sold for consumption, but McCabe said one of her animals was sold to a zoo.

There are about 250 students in the program at Frenship. Dale Schaffner said FFA is very important to the students who are in the program because it provides so many kinds of opportunities that people may not know about.

“It’s not just sows, cows and plows anymore,” said Dale Schaffner.

He said students make friends through FFA and gain a strong sense of responsibility because they have to take care of their animals.

Students in FFA also get to travel all over the state and sometimes out-of-state, which is an opportunity many students wouldn’t get to experience if it wasn’t for FFA.

In fall the FFA teachers teach leadership development and in the spring they have career development where students learn real-world skills, he said.

Dale Schaffner also teaches shop classes and said FFA is a good organization for students to get involved in who don’t play athletics or just want to work with their hands. It’s a great way for students to learn a tangible skill for a career, and for students who may want to go to a trade school instead of college, to prepare.

“FFA has many ways for students to earn scholarships for college on top of learning a skill,” said Dale Schaffner. “But if a kid wants to graduate from high school and be a professional welder, we teach those classes too.”

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