A tradition continues at West Virginia Universitys Davis College of Agriculture, Forestry and Consumer Sciences as faculty, staff and students welcome over 800 high school students from across West Virginia to the 79th annual State Agriculture Career Development Events Sept. 25-27.

“The Career Development Events are an outgrowth of the knowledge that students gain from the classroom, in Future Farmers of America and through supervised agricultural experience programs,”said Dr. Stacy Gartin, professor of agricultural and environmental education.

Students will compete for individual and team awards in areas such as agricultural mechanics, entomology, poultry, forestry and 10 other areas of agriculture. The contests will consist of multiple choice tests and hands-on activities, which will be judged by the faculty of the DavisCollege and WVU Extension.

“The contests serve as an excellent tool to develop leadership and communication skills,”said Dr. Layle D. Lawrence, professor of agricultural and environmental education.

Winners from the Career Development Events have the opportunity to compete at the national level. Many of the 2001 winners placed well at the National FFA Convention in events such as forestry, dairy foods, horse evaluation and others.

“West Virginia is becoming more of a national player in many contests,”Gartin noted.

The Career Development Events have been held at WVU since 1921. The events were only canceled twice, two years in a row, due to World War II.

“This event brings more prospective students to the WVU campus than just about any other single activity,”Lawrence said.

The events will take place at various locations on the Evansdale Campus and at WVU s farms and forests in MonongaliaCounty. The awards ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 27, in the Blue and Gold room located in the Evansdale Residential Complex.