Agriculture is important to Christine Usry. And so is writing.
The Thomson Middle School student recently took home first place in the statewide Georgia Farm Bureau essay contest. Her essay about what agriculture means to her first won at the school level out of about 50 entries to make it to district and finally state.
"I didn't really think I'd win anything," Christine said. "I didn't believe it at first because I just wrote it for a grade."
But the judges thought Christine's essay was good enough for first place. According to her language arts teacher Julie Gerlach, Christine's entry was unique because it combined research with personal experience.
Christine grew up and still lives on her family's 500-acre farm. The farm consists of several crops as well as animals like cows, chickens and sheep.
"It's fun because you have all these wide open spaces to run from your brothers," Christine said about life on a farm. "But when it comes to okra picking, it's not as fun."
After it was announced that she won at the state level, she learned she would be reading her essay at a Georgia Farm Bureau conference on Jekyll Island. She was treated to three days on the island. She also received a monetary prize as well as a trophy.
Christine was also recognized at the December planning session for the McDuffie County Board of Education. She read her essay to school officials at the meeting and was congratulated by the board.
This isn't even Christine's only win in essay contests. She says she enjoys writing, and it shows. Christine took first place at TMS with her fire safety essay this year.
"She has a writing style that is easy to read," Mrs. Gerlach said. "She gives good examples that anyone who reads it can understand."
Mrs. Gerlach also said that Christine is an excellent student who does everything that is asked of her. She said that even when Christine knows the answers in class, she doesn't go out of her way to show off.
Right now, Christine doesn't have any future plans as far as writing is concerned. For the moment, she is content to write from assignment to assignment.