Isaac Fisher, left, with FFA advisor Nichole Scholz.If there’s one student in town who shouldn’t have trouble landing a summer job, it’s Isaac Fisher.

The Madras FFA member was rated second in the nation in the area of job interview skills at the National FFA Convention, held in Louisville, Kent.

To be able to compete at the national level, Fisher had to win at the district and sectional levels, and then take first place at the state level.

For the job interview category, FFA members chose a career field to study and prepare to be interviewed in.

“I chose the career of a Hot Shot crew member. I volunteer at the Jefferson County Fire Department and I had a background and knowledge of it, and knew the fire jargon, which made it easier,” Fisher said of his selection.

“The challenge was that people in Kentucky don’t have Hot Shots, so I had to explain what they were,” he said, noting that made it harder for people to come up with questions for him.

The career field had to be ag-related, and Fisher said forestry is a big part of Oregon’s agricultural mix. “The Forest Service protects a lot of forestland from burning up every year,” he said of the Hot Shot smoke jumping crews.

Fisher competed against 44 other FFA members representing their states in the job interview career development category over the three-day convention. The first day, he was interviewed by a panel, did a telephone interview, and had to fill out an electronic application in 20 minutes.

“The application was pretty nerve-racking because I’m not a fast typer and had to get it all done,” he said.

That day, the field of candidates was cut down to the top eight, and Fisher was among them.

The second day featured a networking activity with a judge, where students had to think on their feet and try to sell themselves as the best job candidate in 1 1/2 minutes. “The contest is to see how much polish you can put on yourself,” he noted.

“They try to make it as lifelike as possible. Most of the judges are human resource representatives for companies, who are in charge of hiring,” he added.

The next morning, bronze, silver and gold awards were handed out, but the top competitors had to wait until that night to learn how they had placed.

“I made it into the top four, so that night I got to go on stage before 58,000 FFA members and advisors from everywhere to get my plaque and a handshake. It was definitely a once in a lifetime chance,” Fisher said of learning he’d won second place in the nation for job interview skills. He also received a $900 scholarship.

Five other MHS FFA members and FFA advisor Nichole Scholz also attended the convention, and the group got to go in field trips to a tobacco farm, area greenhouses, tour Churchill Downs race track, and see other career fields and industries while in Kentucky.

Fisher said the experience has affected the way he looks at things now. “Winning second place was definitely a large confidence booster,” he said.

“When I first started FFA as a freshman, I had a huge fear of public speaking. I’m still getting past that, but have way more confidence now. That’s what’s great about FFA. It can take a shy kid and make him a leader in his life, the community, and a more effective worker in the future,” he said.

At MHS, Fisher is in the student leadership class, is the senior class treasurer, is in FFA leadership and participates in spring track. He has been working at the fire department for two years, first as a junior firefighter, and now as a volunteer firefighter.

“That’s what I want to do for college. In February, I’ll send in an application to be a fire cadet and attend COCC for firefighter and paramedic training,” Fisher said.

With his experience, his application is bound to make an impression.

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