Earlier in September, Clark was announced as a finalist for the Chevron Tractor Restoration Competition. From there, only 12 students were selected from across the nation to advance to the National FFA Tractor Restoration competition in Indianapolis on November 3. Clark, who was representing Frenship FFA ,placed 3rd in the fierce competition.
Angela VanGundy, the Agricultural Sciences Teacher and FFA Advisor at Frenship High School, is incredibly proud of the work Clark has put into this project. She believes it speaks volumes about the Frenship FFA Program.
“Cade winning this award showcases the amazing students, and families, we have in Frenship ISD, many who are enrolled in Agriculture Science courses at Frenship high school,” said VanGundy. “The FFA is such a diverse student organization; sometimes students do not even know what is available to them! This was the case for Cade. Before his junior year, he did not know there was an outlet for his passion. His interest in restoring tractors began for him at a very young age working with his grandfather.”
VanGundy believes that students will feel encouraged after seeing what Cade Clark accomplished on his restoration project.
“We hope more students will see an opportunity to have their talents rewarded in unique and challenging ways. Not every student will rebuild tractors, but our organization has a spot for every student,” said VanGundy.
When Frenship High School offered Ag Mechanics as a class, Clark knew that it was something he wanted to pursue more seriously.
“My junior year of high school was the first year my school offered Ag Mechanics, so I restored my 1937 John Deere Unstyled B,” said Clark. “Shortly after completing the restoration, a salesperson at our local John Deere store, Hurst Farm Supply, saw my tractor and put me in touch with the Smith family from Stephenville, TX, because they have a massive collection of old John Deeres.”
It didn’t take Clark long to realize he had a new project to take on.
“When my dad and I arrived at their place, I fell in love with the big tires and round fenders on my 1954 John Deere 70LP Standard. Jack Finley Smith and Shirley Smith bought the tractor with intentions to restore and named it Mabel in honor of the original owner; however, they were unable to restore the tractor due to Jack getting up in age, so they let me buy it,” said Clark.
Now with a new project under his belt, he felt excited for a new challenge and hopeful of bringing life back into the tractor.
“When me and my dad loaded the tractor on the trailer Shirley was crying and I knew then that the pressure was on to restore this tractor to its former glory, and I was willing to take on the challenge,” said Clark.
What he didn’t know before starting the project was how much work it was truly going to take to revive the tractor.
“Cade worked over 700 hours, spent roughly $27,000 in parts and equipment restoring his latest tractor restoration project and drove more than 5,300 miles around the state and nation exhibiting his project,” said VanGundy.
VanGundy is impressed with Clark’s accomplishments and feels thankful to have taught him while at Frenship.
“Cade was an exceptional student who came from an excellent family. His work ethic should be admired by students and adults,” said VanGundy. “Cade Clark has taught me more than I ever taught him! I am happy he found a place for his talents to shine!”
Congratulations, Cade Clark! Frenship is proud of the work you’ve accomplished!
Here at Frenship, there are many leadership opportunities for students to grow academically through technical training. Frenship FFA is a great example of a program that well-equips students for success not only during their high school career, but beyond.
FFA is an Agriculture based student leadership organization focused on premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education. The Frenship FFA chapter has 582 students enrolled in agriculture science courses taught by five agriculture science teachers.
There are three Programs of Study, with the opportunity to earn Industry Based Certifications in each program. In the 2022-2023 school year, thirteen teams advanced to the State FFA CDE Contest, twenty-two students attended the State FFA Convention, two students were elected to higher level officer positions, over 150 animal projects were fed by Frenship FFA Students, two students advanced to the area round of public speaking (one of those advancing to the state competition), and eight Lone Star Degrees were earned. That is just a glimpse of the accomplishments of students in FFA.