Farm experience fuels love for animals

Michelle Daniek, Staff Reporter

For senior and FFA secretary Kacie Tinnesz, growing up around farming culture was a motivating force in joining the group.
“My brother was in FFA when he was still in high school, and I had grown up with all the rednecks,” Tinnesz said. “It was just natural. When a leadership position opened up, I decided to go for it. I like actually being in a leadership position; it makes me feel important. [The challenging part was] getting everyone to cooperate and actually getting the group to come together.”
As FFA secretary, Tinnesz faces many responsibilities, from keeping track of meeting attendance to dealing with secretaries from other FFA groups. Her experience with FFA has contributed to her decision to pursue a veterinary career.
“It was a good way to get perspective from the agriculture side instead of the science side,” Tinnesz said.
Tinnesz has also gained experience through FFA animal and crop competitions, like Junior Stockman’s.
“It’s an opportunity to show off what we know,” Tinnesz said. “I’ve done a lot of vaccinations at FFA competitions. Last year my cattle working competition came in seventh, and this year we came in sixth, so we’ve moved up a spot.”
Tinnesz plans to pursue her interests at Virginia Tech.
“I know that I’m going into veterinary science, and I could have gone through either the college of science or the science of agriculture,” Tinnesz said. “I figured that they really want girls in agriculture, so that would be a good path for me. I’ve always loved animals since I was little, [and] I love anatomy and all that jazz. Combining the two just kind of made sense.”
She gathered early vet experience on her first three jobs, working summers at horse farms in Opal.
“One morning I came in and a horse was down, and as soon as I got there, I knew something was off,” Tinnesz said. “I turned out to be right – I made the right call by calling the vet.”
In addition to being an essential part of FFA, Tinnesz played a vital role in establishing a pre-med club. Although the club only lasted through a few meetings, Tinnesz believes the effort was worthwhile.
“It never really got off the ground, but it was a fun thing Mrs. [Sinead] Arndt and I did to share our love of anatomy with other people,” Tinnesz said. “[The club] was just a way for people to get an idea of what the anatomy class was like, without actually having to take the class.”
Tinnesz, whose favorite subject in school is anatomy, balances difficult classes with a job at Tractor Supply Co and FFA. If she could change something about her career in high school, cutting down on classes would be the first on the list.
“I’ve really been pushing myself this last year,” Tinnesz said. “It’s all really stressful, but I’m glad I did it.”