Fruita Monument veterinary team is competing at nationals this week
Fruita Monument High School’s Future Farmers of America team is in Indiana this week with 47,000 other high school students from around the country to compete for a national title.
The veterinary science team — juniors Keanna Bonella, Faith Anderson, Natalie McConnell and Kianne Millholland and coach Jennie Hudson — have practiced tirelessly since winning first place in the state competition in April.
“We worked super hard to get here,” Bonella said. “We’re so blessed to be able to have this opportunity, and we want to do our best to come home with a win and show how extraordinary this group of girls really is, and to show people that we deserve to win this competition.”
Since April, the team has met at least once a week to work on animal handling and veterinary practices — such as drawing blood, haltering horses and cattle, preparing them for X-rays — as well as memorizing information and perfecting their math skills.
Hudson said that while the national competition will use stuffed animals for the students to work on, she’s tried to include live animals as much as possible in practice.
“These girls are well-prepared. They have spent a lot of time and put a lot of dedication into bettering themselves,” Hudson said. “It’s very rare I can stump them on a question or hands-on (activity), so I’m excited to see how they’re going to do.”
Working with animals isn’t an after-school activity for the team — it’s a way of life.
Hudson teaches agricultural education at the Fruita 8-9 school and works at an emergency veterinary clinic on the weekends. Bonella said she plans to pursue veterinary science as a career.
“Veterinary science is definitely my future,” Bonella said. “But I’m still undecided on whether I want to be an exotic, wildlife or large animal veterinarian.”
The team is also still fundraising to pay for the trip. Donations can be made at http://www.gofundme.com/2c6ue6tg.