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The Agri-Science competition was a new venture for the John Hardin High School FFA chapter. For two members, it literally was a piece of cake.
Taylor Doughty and Carson McCann, sophomores, are finalists in the National FFA Agri-Science Fair Food Systems Division after winning at the state level. Their project is in the final four and they will compete in October at the National FFA Convention in Louisville.
For their project, Doughty and McCann focused on preservatives in cake. They left pieces of the dessert in different locations with varying temperatures and recorded the effects each location had on each piece. They found preservatives prevented the cake from forming mold, no matter the temperature.
The Agri-Science competition is in its infancy and this was the first experience for John Hardin’s FFA students, adviser Jeremy Hall said. Last school year, he decided to assign a science project to his freshmen class and then determine if any should be taken to the state competition in the summer.
The project by Doughty and McCann served as a way to look at how the competition worked, Doughty said.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” she said.
At the state competition, judges asked Doughty tough questions, throwing out hypothetical scenarios about the experiment to see how she would respond, she said. She wasn’t expecting to win at all, she said.
“The moment I found out I won, I was just so ecstatic,” she said.
For the national competition, Hall, Doughty and McCann submitted an informational packet on their project. The competition only accepts so many projects, Hall said.
They soon learned their first attempt was selected as one of four in the nation to compete.
McCann said they had no idea the project would make it this far.
“We both still can’t believe it,” he said. “It feels so unreal. It’s just amazing.”
Kelly Cantrall can be reached at 270-505-1747 or firstname.lastname@example.org.