Geraldine pair going to TeenAg finals

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by Alexia Johnston

Ben Chambers and Jakob Stachurski are proving their worth in the field of farming.

The Geraldine High School 16-year-olds recently won the TeenAg Aorangi regional finals in Waimate.

They will go on to represent the region at the national finals in Invercargill on July 6, an event which will coincide with the Young Farmer of the Year national final.

Ben and Jakob were pleased to now be in the running for another top spot later in the year.

“I was surprised,” Jakob said, when he heard of their success.

“We were hoping to win.”

Ben agreed their win came as a surprise.

“I was honestly shocked about making it to the face-off [quiz], but after taking out the quiz, I was elated overall – elated to win the competition [and] to be the first Geraldine High School team to make it to the grand final for TeenAg,” he said.

“I cannot believe we won the competition.”

Ben and Jakob had to complete a range of modules throughout the day’s events, including antler scoring, stock judging and guiding plastic balls from the loader of a tractor into a container. One team member controlled the tractor while the other gave directions.

They also competed in a quiz, among other modules, which they had to complete within six minutes.

Fencing was the test they completed the fastest, with about three minutes left to spare.

The duo were competing against pupils from other schools throughout the region and were two of 38 who competed from Geraldine High School.

That turnout meant Geraldine had the most entrants from one school nationally.

Thanks to the school’s strong involvement with Young Farmer of the Year, Ben and Jakob had already started fundraising to attend the event.

While they will still help, their focus has now also turned to competing.

Fellow pupils Mitchell Sowden (16) and Patrick Foley-Smith (16) will also travel to Invercargill to compete in fencing after winning the regional competition, held at the Winchester show last month.

Geraldine High School head of primary industries Sarah Foley-Smith was pleased with the school’s latest primary industries’ success, and reminded Ben and Jakob “now” was when the hard work started.

Various sponsors have already offered to support the Geraldine youngsters as they prepare to take their skills to the national stage.