Newsome High School sophomore and FFA student Kaitlin Zelatis who received her first Junior Grand Champion win, stands with her goat named Twisted Z Astero during the Hillsborough County Youth Goat Show.

Through hard work and dedication, Newsome High School sophomore and FFA (Future Farmers of America) student Kaitlin Zelatis’ efforts paid off. Zelatis won her first junior grand champion title with her 17-month-old Nigerian Dwarf doe named Twisted Z Astero during the Hillsborough County Fair’s Youth Goat Show, which occurred on October 3 in Dover. This year had one of the largest shows with 105 animals and 45 youth participating.

Zelatis expressed how much this meant to her.

“It felt great, especially since this is something that one does not get to do all the time,” Zelatis said.

Rebekah Moyer, goat chairman for the Hillsborough County Fair, briefly shared information about the youth goat show.

“The youth goat show would be a great opportunity for exhibitors of all ages to come and learn more about goat husbandry as well as how to show a goat,” Moyer said. “We also try to make the show as educational as possible to help the youth become prepared for bigger shows across the state of Florida,” she added.

Moyer and Jessica Switzer, who is also a goat chairman for the Hillsborough County Fair, organize and volunteer each year to put the show on for the kids. This would be their sixth year. Those youth residing in Hillsborough County who attend a Hillsborough County school or are part of a Hillsborough County 4-H or FFA chapter are eligible to show. Ages 5 to 18 can compete.

Jyll Highsmith, agriculture teacher and FFA advisor at Newsome High School, stated her thoughts about Zelatis’ accomplishment.

“Zelatis has a passion for dairy goat production and to win this award shows just how much she loves and cares for these animals,” Highsmith said.

For three years, she has been raising and showing goats at the local fairs. Zelatis also owns two does and one buck.

“In FFA, our advisors and teachers are there to guide us; it is up to the student to train their animal,” Zelatis said.

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Tatiana Ortiz is a freelance writer with the Osprey Observer Newspaper. She began as an intern here in 2010 and has been writing since. Tatiana graduated from the University of South Florida in 2015. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications with a concentration in Public Relations. In her free time, Tatiana enjoys photography, biking and being with her family.