Allentown H.S. students earn FFA honors

  • A junior and three freshmen in the Allentown High School Agriculture School Choice program took first place in the New Jersey FFA Association Fruit and Vegetable Identification Career Development Event held Nov. 18 at Rutgers University’s Cook College in New Brunswick.
  • The team of Amy Gottesman, Erin Donaghy, Allison Donaghy and Megan Varanyak came in first out of 23 teams participating in the competition.

    “Allentown’s winning team highlights the need for agriculture, food and natural resources education to take New Jersey agriculture into the future,” said state Agriculture Secretary Charles M. Kuperus. “The School Choice program acknowledges the importance of agriculture, food and natural resource education by designating two high schools in the state for full-time agricultural science programs.”

    Allentown High School is one of the first 10 schools to participate in the Interdistrict Public School Choice program that allows students to attend specialized, innovative school programs outside of their home school districts. Allentown High School’s nationally acclaimed agricultural science program, which has been in place since 1942, accepts students who live within a 20-mile radius of the school.

    The Fruit and Vegetable Career Development event allows students to identify various fruits and vegetables that are grown in New Jersey and throughout the United States. Students also have the opportunity to judge classes of apples and vegetables for uniformity, variety, color, freedom from blemish, and trueness to variety.

    The team also excelled in the individual competition. Amy Gottesman, a 17-year-old 11th-grader from East Windsor, who plans to study animal behavior in college, took home first place. Erin Donaghy, 14, placed second in the individual competition. The ninth-grader from Robbinsville wants to be a marine biologist. Megan Varanyak, 14, a ninth-grader from Robbinsville, placed fourth in the individual competition. She plans to major in English in college. And 14-year-old Allison Donaghy, Robbinsville, is a ninth-grader who is interested in becoming a writer. She took home the sixth-place award in the individual competition.

    FFA is a national youth organization of 464,267 student members preparing for leadership careers in science, business and technology of agriculture, with 7,194 local chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. For more information, visit the New Jersey FFA Web site at