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Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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County/North Florida News

Champions of Science Add Value to Florida Gateway College Board Meeting 

left: Donovan Preedon; right: Austin Bagby

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – Tuesday evening, before the Governor's Florida Gateway College board settled down to the evening's business, a few visitors and college staff members were treated to science presentations from two of the regions champions of science, Austin Bagby of Gilchrist County and Donovan Preedom of Columbia County.

Renae Allen and FGC staff and visitors listened to the presentations.
Renae Allen and FGC staff and visitors listened to the presentations.

Board member Renae Allen of Union County introduced Mr. Bagby and Mr. Preedom. She said, "Tonight we are going to hear from a couple of scholarship winners. These young men were the winners at the Florida State Science and Engineering Fair. The two winners received scholarships to FGC."

Visibly proud of the Champions of Science, Ms. Allen told the board that she thought they might be interested "to see what young people do when they represent this area at a state event."

Donovan Preedom explains hydroponics.
Austin Bagby explains humates.

Ms. Allen introduced Austin Bagby explaining that he just graduated from Bell High School and would be competing in the state agriscience fair and a week after that would be going to NY to the Junior Science Olympiad.

Mr. Bagby introduced himself and his project, which was the effect of humates and humic acid in the soil environment.

Humate is million year old organic matter that is mined from the soil and a key component is building living soil.

When Mr. Bagby was finished with his presentation your reporter asked him if he had any hint that would "improve my cucumbers."

Mr. Bagby didn't miss a beat. He said, "Use this stuff. It works great."

Donovan Preedom explains hydroponics.
Donovan Preedom explains hydroponics.

Ms. Allen then introduced Donovan Preedom from Columbia County.

Mr. Preedom introduced himself, "Hi, my name is Donovan. I'm going to be talking about an efficiency comparison of four different hydroponic growing systems."

Mr. Preedom told the group that there were many factors to consider when evaluating the systems and the "system that seemed like it was the best, was not the best because it used almost 5 times the water of other systems."

Mr. Preedom was inspired to do this research because he wanted to explore how low socioeconomic food deserts "could produce more food and healthy food."

The grandparents were on hand, lending support to the champions. Left to right: Donovan Preedom, Austin Bagby, Wayne Delfke (grandpa of Austin) and Dora Anne Bagby (grandma of Donovan).
The grandparents were on hand, lending support to the champions. Left to right: Donovan Preedom, Austin Bagby, Wayne Delfke (grandpa of Austin) and Dora Anne Bagby (grandma of Donovan).

Epilogue

Both boys belong to the Future Farmers of America, an organization that member Amanda Bates explained this way in an essay titled what "FFA Means to Me:"

"FFA has cultivated in me the passionate, hardworking, dedicated attitude I have about everything today... FAA has taught me more real life lessons and leadership skills than I have ever learned in school. FFA creates America's next leaders through throwing them out of their comfort zone, educating them on the importance of earnest work and being a person of character in their community, no matter what their occupation may end up being... FFA members are the leaders of tomorrow."

Kudos to Austin Bagby and Donovan Preedom, Champions of Science.

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