KEYSER, W.Va. — Five local students represented Mineral County and the state of West Virginia at the FFA Agricultural Mechanics Career Development Event and were honored Tuesday by the county board of education.

“It’s just a tremendous program,” said Skip Hackworth, board superintendent. “They do a great job.”

The team, consisting of seniors Kyle Kesner, Russell Stark, Jared Plum and Brent Ebert and team alternate Zack Cummings, junior, placed 11th in the nation for agricultural mechanics during the Oct. 22-25 convention in Indianapolis.

Kesner was ranked seventh individually as well and received a $500 scholarship.

Due to their efforts individually and as a team, Stark said, the Mineral group was one of 14 teams named a Gold Emblem Team, with both Kesner and Stark named Gold Emblem Individuals and Ebert and Plum named Silver Emblem Individuals.

The team already placed first in the state in order to move on to the national convention event, where it competed against 49 other groups from across the country.

The National Agricultural Mechanics Career Development event is a competitive activity that uses classroom knowledge and places it into realistic situations. The team had to take a written exam, perform a team activity, and demonstrate problem-solving skills and hands-on performance activities.

The focus this year was on energy systems, environmental/natural resource systems, machinery and equipment systems, structural systems, and industry and marketing systems.

“These kids showed a lot of commitment,” Carol Webb, agriculture teacher at the Mineral County Technical Center, said. “We certainly appreciate the support from the board.”

Terry LaRue, board president, presented the students with a certificate of recognition for their work. He said he hoped that the team would continue and be back at the board for a similar recognition next year.

Stark joked with the board that it left Cummings to do a lot of work, as he would be the only one not graduating this year.

Sarah Moses can be reached at

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