For the first time in the history of the program, White County FFA was awarded the 3-Star National Chapter Award at the Future Farmers of America National Convention, in Indianapolis.
“This is the first time we have ever applied and won,” Kim Eller, White County FFA faculty sponsor, said. “I am thrilled. For the members it gives them a sense of validation and achievement. They know how hard they work, and this award showcases that effort.”
Eller explained that, in order to be eligible for the highest chapter award, the White County FFA had to create a program of activities that provided educational experiences for the entire membership and actively pursue improving their operations using the National Quality Chapter Standards set forth by the Future Farmers of America organization.
“Our chapter built our program of activities to provide opportunities for member/student experience in leadership, community service and involvement, and strengthening/growing agriculture,” Eller said, explaining to qualify for a state or national award, a chapter must complete at least 15 activities across five quality standards in three divisions. “Once we completed our program of activities, our chapter officers completed an application based on the activities and member involvement.”
Eller continued, “The officers and members work hard all year to plan and conduct activities that allow everyone to learn and succeed. They are great at thinking outside the box and coming up with engaging and exciting ideas.”
In addition to the Chapter Award, two White County alum were presented the American FFA Degree. Abbigail McCulley and Mackenzie Stockton (who was not present at this year’s convention) earned the organization’s highest individual award.
“To accomplish this, they must commit to finishing work, even after they graduate, on projects they started before or during high school,” Eller said.
She explained why the final award comes after graduation, saying that earning the American FFA Degree demonstrates the effort FFA members apply toward their supervised agricultural experience and the outstanding leadership abilities and community involvement exhibited throughout their FFA career.
“American FFA Degree recipients show promise for the future and have gone above and beyond to achieve excellence,” Eller said.
Eller said that while McCulley and Stockton received awards, another alum – Austin Davis – came very close to being a National Finalist for his proficiency application in grain production placement. Davis finished sixth in the nation, however, only the top four are awarded at convention.
The National FFA Convention is held annually to honor winners, host National Competitions, provide student and teacher workshops, host a college and career expo, and provide a chance for the organization to conduct vital business.
During the 96th National Convention, which was attended by over 70,000 members and guests, White County FFA members visited with colleges and employers from all over the nation; viewed and listened to national winners in competitions, including the Agriscience Fair, National Proficiency winner, National Talent; and much more.
“White County FFA also attended a Tennessee FFA Breakfast, for only Tennessee FFA members to support and congratulate each other on a job well done,” Eller said. “They got to meet and visit with fellow FFA members from all 50 states. They visited the Indianapolis Zoo and even took in a rodeo for fun.”
White County FFA members who made the trip included Daniel Austin, Dustee Savage, Hannah Crawford, Will Stockton, Isabella Sackett, Alivia Hart, Addie King, Camden Ryan, Dillon Parrish, Collyer Steele, Breanna Powell, McKenna Hughes, Marlo Selby, Reese Selby, Katie Eller, and Austin Stebing, as well as graduates Abbigail McCulley and Austin Davis.
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