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Galavich a runner-up for Miss Agriculture USA

Garlich

BETHESDA — Faith Galavich is doing the area proud as an advocate for agriculture, and she recently earned a top spot in the Miss Agriculture USA competition.

Galavich was the runner-up in the contest for the state of Ohio in the 17-20 age division on March 24. Miss Agriculture USA is an agricultural, nonprofit advocacy organization.

“The competition is an eight-part process,” Galavich said.

She placed in the top five in most contest categories. These include an interview process, in which she placed third, and impromptu questions, in which she placed first statewide.

“Which led me to be the 2021 Ohio Miss Agriculture USA runner-up. I believe there were many girls in my age division, and we all had very close scores,” she said. “That impromptu division and category is really what made the difference for me to be able to serve as the state runner-up. I walked out of that interview feeling like the best I’d ever did in an interview. I ended up placing third, and I did feel like I nailed it as I logged off. … The impromptu question I know I answered well and answered it to the fullness of my abilities, but I didn’t know who I was competing against at that point.”

She said the interview process focused on efforts to promote the future of agriculture and to help grow the Miss Agriculture organization.

“I answered wholeheartedly that I want to be an advocate for agriculture and the organization,” Galavich said. “It allows girls from the age of 2 even to grow and become the best version of themselves and set them up with life skills for their future.”

Galavich recalled the excitement when awaiting the announcements of the top-placed contestants.

“I definitely wasn’t expecting it, but I’m honored to receive it,” she said.

Galavich said there were seven competitors in her age division and 40 participants in Ohio.

“There are actually queens in all 50 states,” she said. “We have 10 age divisions starting from 2 and up, and we have six state competitions, and Ohio is one of them.”

Last year, she competed in the state competition but did not place in the top five.

“This year was the highest I’ve placed in the competition,” she said. “It’s a newer organization. It’s a nonprofit organization that started in August of 2018. This is their second year doing a virtual competition.”

Like all other events and aspects of life, the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the process, with a loss of the communal spirit of agricultural involvement.

“Last year, it was a week before the competition, and it got canceled because of COVID, so we started doing it virtually last year, and this year it was completely virtual. We had to record videos and submit videos of ourselves to them, and we actually had a Zoom where we did the interview and impromptu question, but everything else was pre-done,” she said.

Galavich said entries included essays and videos focused on agriculture.

“The virtual format did give us some challenges. I did compete virtually last year, however it went very quickly. Instead of waiting a few months to postpone it and get everything figured out, we did our interview the date it was due,” she said. “It was more difficult because we weren’t prepared and I had not done anything virtually at that point and time. This year I kind of was more prepared.”

However, this format took its toll on the competitive atmosphere Galavich and other are used to.

“You can’t see your judges. I couldn’t see my other competitors. It was solely you on your own, and I think a lot of times in-person events, you get to have that community and you get to talk and experience it with other people. This year it was pretty much a solely on-your-own and by yourself and isolated,” she said. “It has been difficult.”

Galavich said there has been a silver lining in terms of potential for growth and participation.

“Being virtual has allowed them to open it up, because nationals is held in Akron, Ohio, and previously all state competitors were going to have to travel to Akron Ohio to compete. That isn’t a big issue for me, but for people in Pennsylvania or other states wouldn’t have the capability to travel in some cases. … We can include states like Florida and Oregon and Texas and even California.”

Galavich is a senior at Union Local High School. She plans to study Agriscience Education at Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster. She also plans to continue competing in the contest throughout her life.

“I didn’t grow up on a farm,” she said, adding she and others in her family started a farm when she was in sixth grade in 2016, and she has shown animals at the Belmont County Fair since. “Those animals fully relied on me for their well-being. You have to be responsible and take action.”

She has been involved with 4-H, FFA, and the Junior Fair Board.

“It was a very good honor for Faith. She’s a student who works hard at what she does and has been committed to the FFA,” Union Local Superintendent Ben Porter said. “We’re proud of what she’s accomplished.”

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