CHS senior chosen to perform in National FFA Talent Program

Published 6:17 pm Monday, August 14, 2017

This Fall, a student at Cloudland High will bring recognition to the school as the first ever National FFA Talent Program Participant.

Hope Russell, a senior at CHS and member of the school’s FFA Chapter, will perform in the National FFA Talent Program. She is the daughter of Kevin and Paige Russell, of Roan Mountain.

“Hope has performed at the State FFA Convention in Gatlinburg, Tenn., twice since her freshman year,” CHS FFA Chapter Advisor Lauren Turbyfill said. “At the most recent convention, she sang and played her acoustic guitar to ‘Coat of Many Colors’ on the main convention stage, in honor of Dolly Parton and the generosity she shows to those affected by the recent fires in Gatlinburg.”

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Russell is one of only 50 acts from across the country selected to take part in the National FFA Talent Program. She was selected through a video entry to the program, which will take place Oct. 25-28 at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana.

“Hope will have the opportunity to advance through the competition, and we hope to see her on RFD-TV during the convention,” Turbyfill said. “Hope will be the first student to represent Cloudland FFA in this program.”

While she is the first student from Cloudland to take part, Russell is receiving some expert guidance from Turbyfill, who took part in the National FFA Talent Program 10 years ago when she was a member of FFA.

“It’s just amazing to me that two small town girls like myself and Hope can be spotted in the crowd and chosen for such a high honor,” Turbyfill said. “The memories and friendships I made through the National FFA Talent program are near and dear to my heart, and I know they will be cherished by Hope, as well.”

Russell wants to share her love for classic country as well as gospel/bluegrass music by singing songs such as the traditional hymn “What a Day That Will Be” and the country song “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive,” which she sings in the style of Patty Loveless.

In addition to being an active member of the Cloudland FFA Chapter, Russell is also active in her community by singing and playing music at church services and revivals.

She is also a member of the CHS Choir and played the lead role in last year’s production of “Annie.”

Turbyfill said the Chapter is accepting donations to help fund Russell’s trip to perform at the National Convention with the hopes of raising at least $1,500 to cover the travel, lodging and convention expenses.

If anyone would like to contribute to help send Russell to the National FFA Convention, they are asked to contact Lauren Turbyfill at Cloudland High School by calling 423-772-5300.