By Ryan Groves
Being a Senior now at Foley High School, I have had the chance to meet a lot of wonderful people. Whether it was part of the FFA or in my academic classes, I believe this school has a great selection of varied personalities. Since I attended my freshman year, I have seen several pictures of Amanda Barkley posted in multiple classrooms. The more often I saw her pictures, the more curious I became about who she was and what she was doing after graduation.
So I contacted her at Auburn University to see how post-high school life was going. She was busy with exams at the time, but she was very accommodating in answering all my questions.
Q: When were you born?
A: “I was born and raised in Foley. I was also born into a family with absolutely no farming or agricultural background.”
Q: When did you first get involved with the FFA?
A: “I didn’t get involved in FFA until my junior year of high school. To be quite honest, until then, I didn’t even know it existed.”
Q: Were you on any competing teams? What did you place?
A: “I participated in two CDE’s. The first CDE I participated in is also the one that actually altered my career path. I participated in Poultry Judging. We placed third in the South District and then went on to place third in the state. I also participated in land judging. I think we placed 7th in the South District”
Q: Were you ever an FFA Officer?
A: “I held three officer positions in my two years of being a member. My junior year I was the Secretary and my senior year I was Vice President for part and then President. I can still recite opening and closing ceremonies.”
Q: What was your favorite SAE?
A: “My favorite SAE was also my first. I trained a Therapy Dog for the Special Education program at Foley High School. His name was Coupe, and I still think about him all the time. I worked with Coupe every day and brought him to some of my classed with me. I specifically trained him for the needs of the kids in the Magnolia Room. I taught him to put his head in their laps and how to be gentle. Animal therapy is proven to lower blood pressure and be calming. The kids loved it, and it was a fun learning experience for both parties.”
Q: What did you enjoy most about being involved in FFA?
A: “I really enjoyed the multiple learning opportunities. I learned skills in FFA that I’ve carried throughout my life. FFA taught me how to be a strong leader and a team player.”
Q: What did you want to be when you were in high school, and what are you doing now?
A: “My freshman year of high school I wanted to be a Fashion Merchandising major. That quickly changed after my first CDE, and now I’m Studying Poultry Science and I hope to work in hatcheries.”
Q: When did you decide you wanted to go to Auburn, and what made you want to go there?
A: “From the moment I stepped on campus and drank my first sip of Toomers lemonade, I was hooked. Auburn feels like home. The town is so friendly and everyone is so welcoming. It’s hard to be a stranger here. I actually work on Toomers Corner so I’m always in the middle of all the events that happen downtown. Plus, there are not too many place you can get a degree in Poultry Science.”