SHS FFA quartet takes home top honors at state

Published 1:09 am Saturday, June 8, 2019

For the first time in its existence, the Straughn High School String Band Quartet won first place at the State Future Farmers of America Competition.

Director Taylor Weeks said that the four students deserve it because they were all seniors.

“They had a great performance,” Weeks said. “They had a great stage presence that they put a lot of work into. Their reaction when they won was purely emotional. They were all seniors and have pretty much been in the quartet for their entire high school career. This is something that has been a long road to get to.”

The quartet performed “Thank You Lord For Your Blessings On Me,” “Daniel Prayed” and “You Raise Me Up.”

The overall string band placed third in the state out of an overall 15 bands.

“They had a great performance as well,” Weeks said. “I think they put on the best performance at the competition. They should be really proud.”

Weeks said that the Straughn community has been overwhelmingly supportive.

“We had a live stream going on during all of the performances,” Weeks said. “And my phone was always buzzing from people saying that the performance was great and that they are in Straughn supporting us. Straughn as a community has been amazing.”

The SHS String Band has been getting a lot of exposure around the county performing live for different events and Weeks said that it definitely helped them with their competition.

“Any kind of experience where we can get these students performing in front of people is going to help with this sort of competition,” Weeks said. “There are a whole set of nerves that come with this competition, so anything that gets them performing it definitely does help. The big thing that I can say that it helps especially is with stage presence. If you have several shows, like we do, it gets the students comfortable and it shows onstage. They are more comfortable to do these little things that the judges call ‘invisible points,’ like when the students walk out past the monitors and interact with the crowd.”

Weeks said that he is confident that he will find students that will fill the shoes of the four seniors leaving the quartet.

“Yes, they were all seniors, but we have had a lot of students watching and waiting behind the scenes learning from them,” Weeks said. “I know that it will be hard to replace them, but I have no doubt that there will be a group ready to fill their shoes.”

As the director, Weeks said that all he wanted was for SHS to bring home first place.

“It feels so good,” Weeks said. “My main thing is that is that I really did want it, because I did want to bring a first-place banner back home to SHS, but I am really happy for those seniors. Like I said, those seniors have been in it for their entire high school career and they worked hard for it. Every year they came so close to it, so for them to get it done their senior year, it is special.”