It was a case of two titles in three years for Gurteen college who were crowned Annual Colleges Challenge Day Champions on last Thursday.
The day was held in conjunction with Macra na Feirme in Kildalton College, Piltown. Nine teams participated in a day jam packed with different challenges and competitions.
Before lunch teams participated in the quiz competition, and a very competitive soccer tournament eventually won on penalties by Mountbellew Agricultural College. A student from each team also participated in the FRS Memorial Scholarship to reward students showing outstanding Leadership ability. Brian Flynn from Kinnegad was the Gurteen representative.
A total of seven competitions ran simultaneously in the afternoon - all were specialist skills competitions including stock judging, tractor driving, welding, plant identification, grafting, preparing a show horse and a problem solving team challenge.
All was to play for as we headed into the final team challenge with Gurteen College taking this title and putting themselves far enough ahead to win the Challenge Day Title, having already won one skills section and being placed runners-up in the Welding competition and third in the problem solving.
The challenge day has become an annual event since the introduction of the Leadership Module to the Level 5 Cert in Agriculture in 2008 and with all the challenges based around teamwork and leadership it engrains in students the life skills they need to succeed in farming or any aspect of the wider industry.
Macra na Feirme President Alan Jagoe congratulated all the students on their enthusiasm, encouraging them to be the leaders in the development of agriculture in the testing years ahead. He also acknowledged the number of students who have got involved in their local Macra clubs and reminded them that it is a means of keeping in touch with others in farming of a similar age and outlook when they leave college next summer.
Speaking after the presentations Paddy Browne, Head of Education with Teagasc acknowledged the huge effort put in by staff and indeed students for making the leadership module an integral part of the Level 5 courses.
This was evident he said in the fact that so many had participated, with teams from Kildalton Equine and Horticulture courses along with a team from the College of Amenity Horticulture in The Botanic Gardens participating in the Challenge Day for the first time.