Get the Dirt: Agriscience wins at state contest

individuals place high


Photo by courtesy of Ms. Ashman

Senior Nikki McGuire at the 2016 State Soil Conservation Contest. The four-person team from Kamehameha Maui won first place, and individual members swept the top three individual awards.

After digging their way through the competition at the 2016 Annual Maui County Soil and Water Conservation Contest, four Agriscience students flew to Kauaʻi last Friday to compete in the State Soil Conservation Competition where they placed first as a team and first through third and fifth individually.

The small team consisted of four seniors: Brendan Otani (1st), Kupono Aguirre (2nd), Nikki McGuire (3rd), and Kaimana Idica (5). They were accompanied by Ms. Naomi Ashman, student activities coordinator.

The team received a check for their collective win, and Otani, Aguirre, and McGuire won individual monetary awards for the first through third placements.

Similar to preparing for the Maui contest, the students studied a guidebook in and out of class and to familiarize themselves with the soil on Kauaʻi, but the tension was high during the state competition.

“At the state competition everybody was way more focused and silent…the Maui County version it was loose and all the officials were lenient,” Otani said.

The standard for both contests was similar. The students were given 20 minutes to look at three sites and categorize them based on information they were given about the land. Then they were to suggest practices that the land owner could do to use the land for what it is best suited.

Although the standards were similar, the students had to face some trials.  At the county contest, the students had to look at Maui soil but at the state contest, the students had to adapt to Kauaʻi’s soil.

The students were put under more pressure being that there were fewer participants in the competition and that they were the only group from Maui. Many of the participants didn’t think they had what it took to even rank in the contest.

“Honestly, I was completely surprised, I didn’t think I was going to place,” Aguirre said.

In addition, they were having trouble navigating from the sites, and barely made it to the final ceremony and announcement of their placement.

In spite of their tribulations, the soil team dug deep and achieved success.

“To be able to even get to states was a pretty difficult task…winning states was icing on the cake,” said Mr. Duane Iwamura, the team’s adviser.