James River High School FFA students heading to national competition

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BOTETOURT CO., Va. (WDBJ7) Sixteen students from James River High School accomplished something big! They will be competing in the National FFA Convention and Expo in Indianapolis, Indiana in October.

Mikayala Fay is competing in the Livestock Evaluation competition.
She's on a team of all girls -- something you don't see too often in agriculture.

"It makes me really proud that we were all able to work together and win and it kind of makes me happy that we can rub it in the boys' faces that it's an all girls team," said Mikayla.

Bailey Marshall will continue to put her skills to the test in the Poultry Evaluation Competition.

"We do everything relating to the poultry industry. Everything from grading eggs to judging live birds," Bailey explained.

Skyler Camper will be competing in the Environmental Resources Competition.

"I've always wanted to win something since freshman year and it never quite happened. I tried so many competitions and never really found my thing and then I finally found it with ENR," she said.

Getting to nationals meant making a lot of sacrifices.

"They started practicing in March of this year. Our convention wasn't until the end of June. Then once school let out in May they came in once or twice a week as well during their summer off time, which to me really meant a lot that they took their time out of their summer vacation to come in and practice for an event that will not only help their teammates but better their career down the road," explained Zach Wakeman, ag teacher at James River High School.

With all the hard work these kids put in, the community is coming together to help get them to nationals. James River Equipment recently donated $4,000.

"We want to support them the whole way and hopefully they go big," said Store Manager Josh Altice.

Sarah Fay works at James River Equipment. She couldn't be more proud of her daughter Mikayala, who will be participating in nationals.

"There is just multiple jobs in agriculture out there now and what better stepping stone than being in the FFA," she said.

And although taking home championship titles is great, these kids know that being a team and helping each other rise to the top -- win or lose -- is the most important thing.

"It's a team effort. They're there no matter what. It doesn't matter if you get first or not," Skylar said.

The James River High School FFA Chapter is still working to raise all the money needed to get the kids to nationals. It's going to cost about $10,000 and they still have a couple more thousand left to raise. If you would like to donate you can contact the school at (540) 254-1121 and they'll make sure you get your donation in the right hands.