KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
February 15, 2020
By Natalie Cook Clark and Jennifer Miko
Generations of Katyites have participated in the Katy ISD FFA Livestock Show and Rodeo. Nearly eight decades after the inception of the event, families remain at the heart of the program. Three sets of brothers from Tompkins High School supported one another as they competed together this year.
From February 11 – 15, the 77th Annual Katy ISD Livestock Show and Rodeo welcomed high school FFA students to showcase their hard work for a panel of judges. Participants showed rabbits, broilers, goats, lambs, swine and steer.
A Family Event
This year, three pair of brothers represented the Tompkins High School FFA program in the swine show. Together, the young men gained skills on many levels during this process.
Tompkins FFA Brothers
Brady Gonce, a senior, and his brother Caden, a sophomore, learned that raising any animal is a lot of work, and a commitment. The brothers often worked together and had to care for their pigs twice a day.
Caden Gonce, left, and Brady Gonce, right
Leading by Example
Colin Wall’s interest in FFA rubbed off on his brother.
“We did things a little different,” says Colin, a sophomore. “I’m the younger brother who got my older brother, Chase involved.”
Colin Wall, left, and Chase Wall, right
“I regret not getting into FFA sooner,” says Chase Wall. “If you think at all you could be interested, get in the class your freshman year. As a senior, FFA has taught me hard work and discipline that will benefit me further in life. I know now that I want to go into the agriculture field.”
Building Promising Futures
Ag teacher and FFA sponsor, Chelbie Thompson has led the students through the entire competition process and admits it’s rewarding to see them grow.
“This is the best organization,” says Thompson. “I really get to see teenagers grow into outstanding young adults.”
For the second year in a row, the event was held at the newest FFA complex – the Gerald D. Young Agricultural Sciences Center located at 5825 Katy Hockley Cut Off Road. The event provides opportunities for students to develop and showcase their talents in a diverse range
of events as they compete for scholarships.
“There is so much to FFA that people don’t realize - you don’t have to raise animals,” says Thompson. “There is leadership development, public relations/communication, etc.”
“Events such as the Katy ISD Annual Livestock Show become the building blocks for students aspiring to grow into future veterinarians, engineers, agricultural teachers among other industry professions,” says Director of Career & Technical Education Dr. Sarah Martin.
The Bryant brothers, Trace, a sophomore, and Chell, a junior, also competed in the swine event.
Chell Bryant, left, and Trace Bryant, right
“This has been a great experience for us to do together,” says Chell Bryant. “We’ve really become closer as brothers.”
Chell knows that the FFA process has taught him valuable time management skills. And even though he’s not 100% sure what he wants to do, Chell admits, “I know I’ll do something with animal science.”
Although none of their pigs placed at the event, Trace realized something more important.
“I would have liked the pigs to win,” says Trace Bryant,” but this has been more about the experience, and coming together as siblings than winning.”
For more information about the Katy ISD FFA Livestock Show and Rodeo, visit their website here.